Russian diplomat killed in Abkhazia

Unidentified assailant shoots embassy official and injures his wife in Russian-backed breakaway Georgian region.

    Russian diplomat killed in Abkhazia
    Abkhazia broke from Georgian control in a war that followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union [AP]

    A senior Russian diplomat in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region has been killed by an unidentified assailant, Russian news agencies report.

    The first secretary of the Russian embassy in Abkhazia, Dmitry Vishernev, was shot at close range on Monday as he drove out of a garage at his temporary home in the Black Sea region's main city, Sukhumi, Interfax reported.

    "Those who thought up and carried out this awful crime are enemies of the people of Abkhazia," Abkhazia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

     

    Vishernev's wife was also seriously injured during an incident, the statement said.

    There was no immediate word on a possible motive, and the Russia Foreign Ministry declined comment.

    A spokesperson for the separatist authority's interior ministry told Russia's Interfax agency that evidence gathered at the scene indicated that the killing was a "terrorist attack".

    Abkhazia, a lush coastal region that has a reputation for crime and corruption, broke from Georgian government control in a war that followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Russia recognised Abkhazia and another rebel province, South Ossetia, as independent nations after fighting a five-day war with Georgia in 2008, angering NATO and the US.

    Russia maintains troops in both regions. Only a few other countries consider them independent states.

    Georgia has been looking to improve relations with Russia and its own breakaway regions since the party of President Mikheil Saakashvili, a staunch US ally, lost parliamentary polls in October to a coalition headed by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the current prime minister.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Meet the hardline group willing to do anything, including going against their government, to claim land for Israel.