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27 Sep, 2009 15:12

Abkhazia marks liberation from Georgia

Abkhazia is marking sixteen years since the republic's capital, Sukhum, was liberated from Georgian troops.

On September 27, 1993, after an 11-day military operation, Georgian troops were forced out of the city.

"This is a sacred day for us, since the victory of the Abkhazian people in the Patriotic War, 1992-1993, began with the liberation of Sukhum," Abkhazian President Sergey Bagapsh told journalists on Sunday.

The Abkhazian leader visited the Russian patrol boat Novorossiysk, which began protecting the sea border of the republic on September 21.

Abkhazia was incorporated into the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic as an autonomous republic in 1931.

It declared independence from Tbilisi shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Georgian response sparked a bloody conflict which only ended with a Russia-sponsored ceasefire in 1994.

The country was officially recognized by Russia after the war in South Ossetia last year.