Statement of the Parliament of Georgia in connection with another barbaric bomb attack against the civilian population of  Sokhumi, perpetrated at 23 hours on February 20, 1993:

   The Government of the Republic of Georgia has more than once censured the participation of Russian armed forces in the conflict in Abkhazia. In his letter to UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali, President Eduard Shevardnadze underlined that Russia became a side in the armed conflict.

Russian media outlets have quoted representatives of Russian military command as saying that they “bombed Sokhumi” and “destroyed weapon emplacements” in response to the bombing of a Russian military facility in Eshera by the Georgian side.

While the internecine battle is underway in Abkhazia, Georgia, against the separatists and illegal armed units, comprised of citizens of Russia and penetrating from this country with the aim to destroy the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, military operations conducted by Russian armed forces stationed in Abkhazia can be regarded only as an open aggression.

Russia evidently delays the withdrawal of its troops from Eshera, the central part of the conflict zone, in order to use “protection” of this military facility as a pretext for attacking the armed forces and civilian population of Georgia.

The UN General Assembly’s resolution of December 14, 1974, “Definition of Aggression”, describes such actions as aggression.

It is noteworthy that as a rule the bomb attacks are aimed against residential areas of Sokhumi, which causes the destruction of dozens of houses and civilian deaths. The Geneva convention of 1949 which relates to the protection of civilians during times of war defines such actions as the gravest crime.

The statements of the Russian Parliament and military officials about the protection of Russians living in Georgia sound cynically with ethnic Russians making about one third of the casualties resulting from the bomb attacks.

The statement of Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev that Batumi, Gudauta and other areas of Georgia, where the Russian troops are stationed, have strategic importance for Russia and that pulling the troops from these areas would be equal to losing the Black Sea sounds outrageously given the abovementioned facts. Such statements and the methods that Russia uses to defend its “strategic interests” in Georgia allow us to say that Russia grossly violates the final document of the Georgian-Russian meeting of September 3, 1992 in Moscow and again resorts to violence in contrast to the course for democratization declared by its government. The possibility of escalation of military operations against Georgia is extremely high and without timely interference of the international community and international organizations the country may be turned into the second Afghanistan.

The actions of the Russian Armed Forces contribute to the existing tension between Georgia and Russia and undermine the negotiating process between the two states facing both of them with a lose-lose situation.

The Parliament of Georgia strongly condemns the aggressive actions against Georgia undertaken by the Russian Armed Forces stationed in the conflict zone and places full responsibility for possible consequences with the Russian government. The Parliament of Georgia demands that drastic measures should be taken to ensure the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Georgia.

Tbilisi, 24 February, 1993.

(Bulletins of the Parliament of Georgia; 1992-1993, # 1-4, p. 364-365/Translation from Georgian))