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Russia Steps Up Pressure over Fatal Abkhaz Clash

Those involved in ?the gangster-style execution? of two Abkhaz militiamen on September 20 should be punished, Vitaly Churkin, Russia?s ambassador to the UN, said on October 11.

An interim report by UN observers has confirmed the Abkhaz version of events surrounding the fatal September 20 clash. Seven Abkhaz militiamen were captured, several wounded and two former Russian officers reportedly on contract with the Abkhaz forces were killed in the clash with Georgian Interior Ministry forces

The report said that the incident had taken place on Abkhaz-controlled territory and the two men were killed with ?automatic weapons fired at short and point-blank range.?

?In our view there is sufficient evidence to indicate that it was a gangster-style execution and there is sufficient information to show that the Abkhaz did not return fire at all,? Churkin told reporters after a closed-door Security Council meeting.

?We demanded that the organizers and persecutors of this criminal act be punished and the captured Abkhaz soldiers be released.?

Davit Bakradze, the Georgian state minister for conflict resolution issues, who is currently in New York, told Rustavi 2 TV in a phone interview that the fact that two Russian officers were involved in the incident was a source of concern, and something the Russian authorities needed to address.

Sokhumi has, meanwhile, welcomed the UNOMIG interim report, saying it was ?impartial.?

?Now, it should be clear to everyone, that the Abkhaz servicemen were attacked on the territory of Abkhazia and our two officers were shot dead at point-blank range,? Sergey Shamba, the breakaway region?s foreign minister, said.

He also said that the report would help Sokhumi muster international support for the release of those captured by the Georgian side. Seven Abkhaz militiamen are in detention, awaiting trial.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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