SUKHUM / AQW'A — "On the events preceding the Patriotic War in Abkhazia, whether it could have been avoided, the importance of recognising its independence, and how the relationship between Abkhazia and Russia is evolving today, the Secretary of the Security Council of Abkhazia, Sergey Shamba, spoke on Sputnik radio.
Abkhazia genuinely wanted to avoid war [1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhazian War -ed.] , but circumstances developed in such a way that there was no other choice but to defend itself, Shamba recalls.
"On the eve of the war, the Parliament of Abkhazia addressed the Georgian side, proposing that in the changed realities – the collapse of the USSR – they establish new, equal relations. The appeal ended with the words 'we hope that the extended hand will not hang in the air.' In response to this, they sent us tanks," Shamba shared.
Abkhazia did not formally declare independence until 12 October 1999. And this was in large measure the result of frustration at continuing bad faith on the part of Tbilisi in post-war negotiations. It has not been the Abkhazians who have refused to compromise — one might say that after their military victory, they were fully entitled to declare independence at once (September 1993), and yet they continued to pursue federative possibilities, whilst all that Georgia has offered is a return to the status quo ante bellum.
Speaking of cooperation with Russia after recognising independence, Shamba noted that their relationship is not merely a partnership, but an alliance.
"After we signed an agreement in which the parties undertook to support the ally in the event of threats, it represents a completely different relationship. It's a military-strategic alliance. I have always said and will reiterate that no small country can avoid external threats if it doesn't have reliable allies. We have a reliable ally – the Russian Federation, which has repeatedly demonstrated its readiness to protect our interests. This is a great nuclear power, a member of the UN Security Council, and we all remember how representatives of Russia, like the late Churkin, defended the interests of our people, our country in the Security Council," he emphasized.
Listen to the full interview in the audio file."