The Prime Minister of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia, Gennady Gagulia, has been killed in a car crash as he was returning home from Sochi airport at the end of an official visit to Syria, which is one of a handful of countries that recognise Abkhaz independence.
The Russian broacaster RT reported that Gagulia's convoy was involved in an accident at around 10pm local time in Gudauta District just after passing a police post on the outskirts of Mussera.
Officials of the de facto Abkhaz government insist that the death was the result of an accident, not a terrorist attack. The driver of the car that drove into the official convoy is reported to be a young Abkhaz. Law enforcement sources in Sukhumi say that he was under the influence of drugs.
The 70-year-old prime minister Gagulia served as chairman of the Council of Ministers in Abkhazia between 1995 - 1997,and again between 2002 - 2003. He was appointed again to the position on 25 April 2018.
Abkhazia is currently caught in internal political turmoil, with feuding clans vying for power and control over economic resources.
source: commonspace.eu with RT and agencies.
photo: Gennady Gagulia
Bakhtadze later tweeted that talks centred on Georgia's new wave of reforms and the EU's continued support for Georgia's European path.