Russia denies involvement in death of Georgian man near ABL with Abkhazia

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement today denying Russia’s involvement in the death of a Georgian man near de facto Abkhazia. Photo by, 20 May 2016 - 16:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

Russia has denied any involvement in the brutal murder of a Georgian man near the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) separating de facto Abkhazia region from the rest of Georgia. 

This afternoon Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement saying Russian representatives (border guards or other) were not involved in the shooting of 31-year-old Giga Otkhozoria yesterday.

Otkhozoria was shot six times, including once in the face, by border guards despite being on territory under Georgian jurisdiction and control. 

Witnesses said Otkhozoria was retreating from the ABL to Khurcha Village when he was shot. 

The statement by Russia’s Foreign Ministry claimed official Tbilisi "knew well” that no border guards or any other Russians were involved in Otkhozoria’s murder, and accused the Government of Georgia of "using this case for new propagandist accusations of Russian occupation”. 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also advised Georgia that instead of making political speculations, to focus on the restoration of a joint cooperation mechanism (namely the IPRM talks) in Abkhazia’s Gali district "to prevent and respond to incidents at Georgia border with Abkhazia”.

Meanwhile Georgia said the Russia was entirely responsible for the murder of one of its citizens.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed this was a criminal act and it again demonstrated the "highly alarming situation” in the occupied region of Abkhazia. The Ministry reaffirmed the need to establish international security mechanisms in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions.

The Georgian side has informed the international community about the murder.