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Abkhazia recognises Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk

26 February 2022
Aslan Bzhaniya. Official photo.

Abkhazia has recognised the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, in a late-night announcement by President Aslan Bzhaniya.

Bzhaniya cited Abkhazia’s ‘special relations’ with the two regions, and what he called their ‘struggle for justice, for the right to a decent life’.

He defended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as ‘absolutely justified’, and repeated unsubstantiated Russian claims that Ukraine was committing genocide against Russian speakers.

On Thursday, Russia launched a massive attack on Ukraine from multiple directions, after recognising Donetsk and Luhansk three days earlier.

[Read from OC Media: Editorial | Russia's imperialist invasion of Ukraine]

During his statement, Bzhanyia repeatedly praised Russian actions.

‘We have witnessed the efforts made by the Russian Federation for a fair resolution of the problem, acting as an active mediator of the peace process But the Ukrainian authorities were initially set up for the use of force, for the destruction and expulsion of the civilian population from the Donbass. It was completely obvious’, the statement said.

‘The security of the Russian Federation is our security, dear citizens of Abkhazia’, he added.

He also accused the ‘so-called collective West’ of encouraging ‘the aggression of Ukraine’.

This, he said, was ‘exactly the same as it was almost thirty years ago, when Georgia tried to do away with the Abkhaz forever by the same methods’ — one of several comparisons he made to Abkhazia’s conflict with the Georgian Government.

He also claimed that ‘all citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia’ considered Russia’s decision to recognise Donetsk and Luhansk as ‘fair from all points of view’, and that he was ‘absolutely sure that the entire Abkhaz society’ supported his decision to follow suit.

Abkhazian society and public figures have been markedly silent on events in Ukraine since Russia’s recognition and subsequent invasion, with some even suggesting it may have been a mistake.

Bzhaniya also said that the first group of refugees had already arrived from the Donbas. A delegation headed by the Minister of Emergencies was dispatched to evacuate people from the region shortly before Russia launched its assault.

For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

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