The President’s Speech at an Event Dedicated to the Commemoration of the Soldiers who Died in the Liberation of Sukhum during the March Offensive
On March 16, President of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba gave a speech at an event dedicated to the commemoration of the soldiers who died in the liberation of Sukhum during the March Offensive of the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia of 1992-1993.
*** Dear mothers and fathers of the defenders of Abkhazia! Dear veterans! The events connected to the March Offensive to liberate Sukhum became part of the history of the Patriotic War of the People of Abkhazia as an important and responsible stage in the expulsion of the Georgian aggressors from the territory of our country. Despite heavy losses and tragic consequences, this operation played an important preparatory role in the successful carrying out of further military and strategic plans of our Armed forces. During the fighting, which took place on March 15-16, 1993, significant damage was done to Georgia’s defensive fortifications. According to the Georgian command itself, Sukhum, which was under the control of occupation forces at the time, was almost fallen. The military divisions of the Abkhazian army that broke through to the capital demonstrated determination and courage. Regardless of the fact that the enemy was more superior in manpower and technology, Abkhazian forces demonstrated high combat capability. They engaged in unequal combat and showed miracles of bravery. It is true that the March Operation failed because of some tactical and strategic reasons, such as the delay in the advancement of assault units to the initial boundary, an insufficiently developed system of their interaction and other discrepancies between the command and the fighters who carried out the assigned tasks. However, it gave us an opportunity to test our strength and possibilities, to gain experience in the competent military conduct and to study the weak links in the management of enemy units. If we take into accounts these factors, our troops fought successfully and effectively in the next operations at the Western and Eastern fronts which in the end brought Abkhazia victory over the Georgian occupation forces. These were difficult days for all our people. They were aggravated by the disrespectful behaviour of Georgian occupation forces and military command who did not want to return the bodies of our fighters and cynically engaged in political bargaining over them. However, our people endured these trials with honour and dignity. In the course of the March Offensive, 222 fighters died, and many were wounded. We are still deeply worried about the fates of many brave fighters who went missing during these tragic events. The great national leader Vladislav Ardzinba gave a speech on the Abkhazian television right after the tragic events and with his head held high, called on the nation to become even more united and expressed unwavering confidence that the fight with fascism will continue and that freedom, peace and justice will prevail on the long-suffering soil of Apsny. This brave call came true and on September 30, 1993, the banner of victory was installed above the state border on the Ingur River, and it was drenched in the blood of the fighters for the freedom and independence of Apsny. Our nation remembers the sacred ritual of re-burial of the remains of hundreds of selfless fighters at the Memorial of glory in the centre of Sukhum. These were the days of nationwide grief! We bow our heads before the memory of those who paved the way to victory and independence at the cost of their lives! The heroic deed of the brave defenders of Homeland will forever stay written in golden letters in the annals of the Republic of Abkhazia, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of victory this year! May the light of great nationwide love and respect for the heroes never fade, as they gave us a historical chance to revive our statehood.