Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said he had ordered the Abkhaz navy “to destroy” Georgian coast guard vessels if they entered the region’s “territorial waters,” the Russian news agency, Interfax, reported on September 2.
“This step is dictated by the continued acts of piracy by Georgia,” Bagapsh was quoted by Interfax.
He, however, also said that the Russian navy would not be involved “in resolving this issue.”
Deputy head of Russian Federal Security Service border guard department, Yevgeny Inchin, said on August 28 that a unit of the Russian border guards in Abkhazia also includes coast guard boats, “which will solve these issues, meaning providing security for [ships]” bound to Abkhazia.
According to the Georgian and Abkhaz sides a total of four cargo ships en route to, or from Abkhazia were detained by the Georgian coast guard this year. Georgia’s law on occupied territories bans economic activities in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia without Tbilisi’s consent.
In one of such cases, involving detention of a Turkish cargo ship, Buket, in mid-August, the ship’s Turkish operator company said that it was seized by the Georgian coast guard in international waters.
The Abkhaz leader compared Georgia’s action to those of Somali pirates and added that “actions of this type should be followed by an adequate response.”