TBILISI (AFP) Georgia on Thursday accused Russia of causing irreversible environmental damage in the Moscow-backed rebel Abkhazia region through its preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi. Georgias environment ministry said in a statement that building materials such as rock and sand were being extracted from coastal riverbeds in the region and exported to Russia to construct facilities for the Games. The work was strengthening river flows into Black Sea coastal areas and causing an increasing degradation process of the coast, the ministry said. The Olympic Games should facilitate peace and friendship among nations without causing irreversible environmental damage, it said. Georgia, which fought a brief war with Russia in August 2008, has repeatedly raised concerns about the hosting of the games in Sochi, which is only 25 kilometres (15 miles) from the border with Abkhazia. Russia recognised Abkhazia and Georgias other rebel region, South Ossetia, as independent states after the war but most of the international community continue to consider the regions integral parts of Georgia. Sochi won the right to host the Games after a bid championed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. But its ambitions have long been dogged by concerns about whether the city will be able to build infrastructure for the showpiece. The Russian authorities are pulling out all the stops to ensure the facilities are finished on time after fears they would be stretched to meet the deadline. Earlier this month Russias Audit Chamber also raised environmental concerns about the preparations, saying Sochi is facing an apparently insurmountable problem of how to dispose of millions of tonnes of construction waste.