Abkhaz President: Russia's August 2008 invasion aimed to rescue South Ossetians

Russia's intervention in a military conflict in South Ossetia in the summer of 2008 stabilized the situation in the republic, Abkhaz President Alexander Ankvab said.

"Russia had to introduce a contingent of its troops to rescue the people of South Ossetia," Ankvab said at a ceremony to commemorate those killed in the armed standoff on August 8, 2008, which took place at the South Ossetian Embassy in Abkhazia on Wednesday.

"The people of South Ossetia was on the edge of an abyss and only Russia's intervention helped stabilize the situation and oust Georgian armed forces from Tskhinval," the Abkhaz leader said at a ceremony which was also attended by Russian Ambassador to Abkhazia Semyon Grigoryev.

"Abkhazia is a country which has always been close to, and supported South Ossetia," he said. "The historical fact of recognition by Russia of Abkhazia and South Ossetia following the August 8 events changed the state of affairs in the Caucasus, in the entire post-Soviet space and the world over," the Abkhaz president said.

The ceremony attendees observed a minute of silence in memory of those killed.

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