Abkhazia / Georgia

Following the fall of USSR, a war in Abkhazia (1992–93) arose between the Georgian government and separatist Abkhaz forces seeking for an independent state from Georgia.The conflict remains unresolved. Although Abkhazia is de facto independent, it is still unrecognised by most of the international community, and Georgia regard it as an autonomous region.

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«I flew in together with hundreds of volunteering Georgian soldiers, arms and ammunition, who went in an attempt to defend the city of Sukhumi on the Black Sea Coast. Because of heavy fire against the airport we were forced to fly out over the sea and back again before the plane could land; all this with a bunch of drunk militia soldiers, who during the trip were rattling their automatic weapons and hand grenades while the vodka was flowing.

I had not been in Sukhumi long before hell broke out. A series of GRAD-missiles hit the square, close to the cement foundation that used to hold a statue of Lenin; another missile hit a corner of the city hall building when I found myself in the fourth floor. The high communist building where the Georgian army headquarters was situated worked as a perfect target for the Abkhazian rebels’ rockets and missiles.

The once so beautiful Abkhazian province capital or what used to be known as the ‘Riviera of the Black Sea’ – and the Soviet pensioners’ ‘Florida’ – was going, with certainty, to be transformed into a burning ruin»

Peter Strandberg | Sukhumi, Abkhazia | 1993