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Three Hundred Meters to Murder

Back on Sept. 20, a deadly firefight broke out in the mountainous breakaway region of Abkhazia – the separatist “frozen conflict” area where Georgia and Russia play an endless game of tug-of-war. When the smoke cleared, there were two dead Abkhazian fighters, two dead Russian soldiers, many wounded, and two differing accounts of the incident. A investigation was opened by UNOMIG‘s Fact Finding Team, resulting in a preliminary report which blames the Georgians for the clash. Russia’s Foreign Ministry was quick to fire off some sharp criticism, saying that the Georgian conduct should be viewed as “premeditated murder committed with particular cruelty. … It is essential that the final results of the ongoing inquiry should identify this outrageous crime’s organizers and perpetrators, who must face a deserved punishment.” What did the UN find? That the clash took place within Abkhazian territory, about 300 meters from the administrative border – the critical distance between murder and sovereign defense.