Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 155

At least four Abkhaz militiamen were killed in an ambush laid by Georgian guerrillas in Abkhazia during the night of August 10-11. On the same night in another sector, Abkhaz militiamen crossed into Georgia proper and shelled houses in two villages of Zugdidi district. This was the second Abkhaz raid into Georgia proper in the last few days. Three Abkhaz were killed in the nighttime raid of August 8-9. The Abkhaz militiamen crossed the Russian-patrolled security zone during both raids.

In Tbilisi, the parliament’s defense and security committee chairman, Revaz Adamia, observed that Abkhaz raids into Georgia proper introduce a new trend in the confrontation. Adamia interpreted the raids as an attempt to blackmail Georgia into officially requesting an extension of the Russian “peacekeeping” operation, whose term expired on July 31. Russia seeks political and legal cover for an open-ended military presence. Tbilisi does not propose terminating the Russian operation outright, but seeks to internationalize it.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry called on Georgia to stop “deliberate terrorist acts” in Abkhazia, and urged the Abkhaz to “demonstrate restraint, desisting from actions that may entail dramatic consequences.” The statement obscures the fact that Moscow itself has armed the Abkhaz side.

According to the Russian military command, at least fourteen Abkhaz militiamen were killed and ten were wounded in clashes since July 30. In addition, according to the Abkhaz authorities, at least five Russian soldiers were killed and six wounded in ambush attacks by Georgian guerrillas in June and July. (Prime-News, Kavkasia-Press, Itar-Tass, August 11)