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Bleeding wound: 23 years since fall of Sokhumi
27 September, 2016
23 years have passed since the war in Abkhazia ended by falling of Sokhumi. The military clashes began on August 14, 1992. The National Guards of Georgian Ministry of Defense who crossed the administrative border to protect the Sochi-Ingiri part of Georgian railways from marauding gangs, were attacked by Abkhazian National Guards set up by then Secretary of Abkhazian Automony’s Supreme Council, Vladislav Ardzinba.  

Georgian State Council took the decision to send troops to Abkhazia on August 11, after relevant consultations with Ardzinba. In spite of the agreement, Abkhazian militaries opened fire in Ochamchire and Gulripshi districts, as well as in the city of Sokhumi, which were followed by larger military activities.  

The was in Abkhazia lasted 13 months and 13 days and ended on Septembers 27, 1993, by falling of Sokhumi.

On September 16, Abkhazian side violated the Sochi Ceasefire Agreement reached on July 27 and began a large-scale attack on Sokhumi. The battle in Sokhumi lasted for 11 days. The coalition of Abkhaz, Russian, Cossack and North Caucasian forces stormed into the building of Abkhazian Council of Ministers in the morning of September 27 and took dozens of hostages, among them Jiuli Shartava, the Chairman of the Cabinet, Guram Gabeskiria, the Mayor of Sokhumi and 27 others. Later, they were all shot and killed.  

Russian and Abkhazian forces occupied the territory along the Enguri river on September 30, 1993 and this is the day when the self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia celebrates the day of its independence from Georgia.

According to as yet unconfirmed data, only from the Georgian side, more than 10 000 people, militaries as well as peaceful population, died in Abkhazia during the war. 300 000 people fled their homes and settled in different parts of Georgia as well as in Russia and other countries.

As for the official data release by the Abkhazian side, 3 500 people died and close to 2 000 were wounded.

Every year, at the memorial dedicated to the fallen for the unity of Georgia, their relatives and close friends gather, along with the members of the government, who bring flowers and pay respect to their memory.  

Photo By Tiko Tsitsvidze

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