Moscow, Sep 9: The prime minister of Georgia's separatist republic of Abkhazia died in a car crash on Saturday (September 9), the local government said.
Gennady Gaguliya, 70, was killed in a crash on the road between Psou in the south of Russia and Sukhumi in the breakaway region, according to a statement on the Abkhazia cabinet website. Galuliya was travelling in a delegation returning from Syria. His driver and security guards were not injured, the news agency quoted a government spokesperson as saying. The republic is led by president Raul Khajimba.
Moscow became one of the few capitals to recognise the independence of Abkhazia, along with breakaway republic South Ossetia, following a Russia-Georgia war a decade ago. The two regions constitute 20 per cent of Georgia's territory. Georgia and its Western allies have condemned Russia's continued "occupation" of its territory and have demanded the Kremlin reverse its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia and its Soviet-era master Moscow have long been at loggerheads over Tbilisi's bid to join the European Union and NATO, with the spiralling confrontation culminating in a full-blown war in August 2008. Russia stationed permanent military bases in the breakaway regions after the conflict.