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ABKHAZIAN REBELS NEAR GEORGIA CAPITAL

SHARE ABKHAZIAN REBELS NEAR GEORGIA CAPITAL

Abkhazian rebels seeking independence from Georgia advanced Sunday to within nine miles of their regional capital and both sides reported heavy casualties.

Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze, who flew to the besieged city of Sukhumi on Friday after the separatists launched an offensive, has said he will resign if the city falls.Georgia continued to send in thousands of troop reinforcements to Sukhumi, and the rebels were believed to be vastly outnumbered.

Georgia has lost control of more than half of Abkhazia in fighting that has killed more than 1,000 people.