Somber wreath-laying ceremonies are held in Tbilisi and Sokhumi on August 14, marking the launch of 13-month long armed conflict in Abkhazia twenty one years ago today.
August 14 is marked in Abkhazia as the “Day of Remembrance of the Defenders of the Fatherland”; wreaths were laid at the Memorial of Glory in Sokhumi center by the breakaway region’s leadership.
Meanwhile in Tbilisi, the day is marked with wreath-laying at a memorial of Georgian fallen soldiers.
The Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration released a statement on the accusation of this anniversary saying that “this war was a huge mistake which should not have happened.”
“The newly established [Georgian] state and then leadership of the country failed to avoid the bloodiest conflict in the modern history of Georgia,” reads the statement, which also expresses condolences to the families of all those who died in the conflict “both Georgians and Abkhazians.”
The Georgian government sent troops to the Abkhaz Autonomous Republic on August 14, 1992 with the stated official reason to protect the Abkhaz section of the Russian-Georgian railway. Georgian troops were forced to withdraw from Abkhazia in September 1993.
The Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration also said in the statement: “On October 1 [parliamentary elections] the Georgian population rejected the aggressive and militaristic policies, which were imposed on them. Georgia is no longer the state it was 21 years ago. Today Georgia has the government, which is ready to protect the interests of Abkhazians and Ossetians and is sincerely interested in laying the foundation for peaceful coexistence with them.”
“We, Georgians and Abkhazians, should jointly find the solution and build the future on the basis of the European values that has no alternative. We are sure that with joint efforts the tragic developments of the last century will never reoccur,” the statement reads.