Georgian man shot six times, killed by Russia’s border guards near ABL with Abkhazia

  • Giga Otkhozoria, 31, was shot six times by border guards who stand on patrol between Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia. Photo from Giga Otkhozoria’s Facebook page., 20 May 2016 - 13:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

A Georgian citizen has been shot six times and killed by Russia'a border guards patrolling the area between Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia region.

Georgian authorities reacted to the news, saying they’re shocked and saddened by yesterday’s incident, which occurred in Khurcha village, which is currently controlled by Georgia. 

In a statement Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Ministry said it was "deeply concerned” and said Russia was wholly responsible for the action.

Just before midday yesterday Russia's border guards near de facto Abkhazia region fired six bullets at Giga Otkhozoria, 31, who was trying to transport food into to the breakaway region for a funeral ceremony of his late aunt. 

Locals said the border guards demanded Otkhozoria pay some money in exchange for transporting the goods into Abkhazia, which caused a dispute.

Witnesses said Otkhozoria ran away from the border guards but was shot as he retreated. He was on territory controlled by the Government of Georgia when he was gunned down. 

The 31-year-old was rushed to Zugdidi Hospital with six gunshot wounds, including one to the face, said a doctor at the hospital.

Georgia’s State Security said four border guards opened fire on Otkhozoria as he retreated.

This criminal act once again demonstrates the highly alarming situation in the occupied region of Abkhazia, Georgia and the full responsibility of [this crime] lies with the Russian Federation and the power in effective control of the occupied region,” said Georgia’s Foreign Ministry.
The above mentioned criminal act reaffirms the need to establish international security mechanisms in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions,” said the Ministry.

Upon learning of the shooting, Georgia’s Foreign Ministry "immediately” contacted the European Union Monitoring mission (EUMM) and co-chairs of the Geneva International Discussions – which deals with Georgia’s conflict issues representing the European Union, the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe – about the incident and requested their "due reaction”.

Additionally, head of the Georgian Delegation at the Geneva International Discussions David Dondua had a phone conversation with head of the Russian Delegation Grigori Karasin.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed Georgia would apply all existing international mechanisms to ensure the incident is adequately responded to both politically and legally, and those responsible for the crime are brought to justice.