Leader of rebel Georgia region dies in Moscow: official

29th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The leader of Georgia's rebel Abkhazia region, Sergei Bagapsh, has died in a Moscow hospital following a lung operation, a source in the pro-Russian administration said Sunday.

Bagapsh, 62, was re-elected as head of the separatist region by a crushing margin in December 2009, slightly over a year after Russian forces defeated Georgia in a five-day war and proclaimed the region's independence.

Abkhazia and the fellow separatist region of South Ossetia, also declared independent by Russia following the August 2008 war, are still claimed by Georgia and not recognised by the West.

A source in the Black Sea region's administration said Bagapsh underwent surgery in Moscow on May 21 and died of complications.

Alexander Ankvab, his deputy, has been appointed as acting president, with new elections required by the region's constitution within three months.

The region's security council will meet later Sunday to discuss the situation, the source said.

Bagapsh had ruled the republic since January 2005, supporting closer ties with Russia.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article