Abkhazian Armed Forces
|Abkhazian Armed Forces|
|Founded||12 October 1992|
|Service branches||Abkhazian Army|
Abkhazian Air Force
|Prime Minister||Valeri Bganba|
|Minister of Defence||Mirab Kishmaria|
|Chief of Staff||Vasily Lunev|
|Active personnel||3000 - 5000|
|History||Military history of Abkhazia|
Six-Day War of Abkhazia
|Ranks||Military ranks of Abkhazia|
The Ministry of Defence and the General Staff of the Abkhazian armed forces were officially created on 12 October 1992, after the outbreak of the 1992-1993 war with Georgia. The basis of the armed forces was formed by the ethnic Abkhaz National Guard created early in 1992 prior to the outbreak of the war. During the war, the Abkhazian forces - with the critical support from the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, Cossack volunteers and Russian regular military units stationed in or near Abkhazia - succeeded in defeating the Georgian troops; Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, Russians and Abkhaz were killed. Roughly 200,000 to 250,000 Georgian civilians became Internally displaced persons (IDPs). Most of the military's weapons come from the Russian airborne division base in Gudauta, while others were captured from Georgian forces.
On 24 November 2014 the governments of Abkhazia and Russia signed a treaty of cooperation that creates a joint force of troops from the two countries. In September 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a proposal to finance the modernization of the Abkhazian Armed Forces.
Georgia regards the Abkhaz armed forces as "unlawful military formations" and accuses Russia of supplying and training the Abkhaz troops, partly in exchange for Abkhaz land or hotels. The Abkhaz deny this, saying they bought what they have on the free market except for five sea cutters received from Russia and speedboats from the Abkhaz diaspora in Greece. In March 2005, then Abkhazian defence minister Sultan Sosnaliev admitted that the senior and middle-ranking officers in the Abkhaz army are regularly sent to Russia for 2–3 month training courses within the framework of the Russia's "Vystrel" (Shot) program.
Sosnaliev himself is a Russian officer from the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (Russian Federation) and held the same post during the Abkhazian war, when Chechen field commander and militant Shamil Basayev was his deputy. Similarly, former chief of staff, Major General Anatoly Zaitsev had previously served as deputy commander of the Transbaikal Military District (now part of the Siberian Military District) in Russia. Another top official, Deputy Defence Minister Aleksandr Pavlushko is a Russian colonel and the former chief of staff of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia. Georgia also regularly accuses Abkhazia of forcibly recruiting Georgian returnees from the Gali district into the armed forces.
The Abkhaz military is primarily a ground force but includes small sea and air units. In 2006, an "anti-terrorist centre" of some 200 personnel was created under the de facto ministry of interior. The de facto minister of finance estimated, in 2006, that 35 per cent of Abkhazia's budget was spent on the military and police.
On 8 May 2007, Minister of Defence and Vice Premier Sultan Sosnaliyev resigned. He was succeeded as Defence Minister (but not as Vice Premier) by First Deputy Defence Minister Mirab Kishmaria, in an acting fashion from 10 May and permanently from 26 July onwards.
On 14 April 2010, five Deputy Ministers of Defence were retired, including Chief of the Armed Forces Anatoli Zaitsev. Aslan Ankvab was appointed acting First Deputy Minister of Defence and Chief of Staff. On 21 May 2010, Beslan Tsvishba was also appointed First Deputy Minister of Defence. On 29 March 2011, Vladimir Vasilchenko succeeded Aslan Ankvab to become the new, permanent, Chief of Staff and First Deputy Minister of Defence.
|From||#||President||#||Minister for Defence||#||Chief of the General Staff|
|1992||Parliamentary republic||1||Vladimir Arshba||1||Sultan Sosnaliyev|
|2||Sultan Sosnaliyev||2||Sergei Dbar|
|3||Vladimir Mikanba||3||Vladimir Arshba|
|2||Sergei Bagapsh||6||Sultan Sosnaliyev||4||Anatoli Zaitsev|
|3||Alexander Ankvab||5||Vladimir Vasilchenko|
According to the authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Abkhazian Land Forces are organised along the Swiss model - in time of peace they have personnel of 3,000 to 5,000 and in case of war further 40-50,000 reservists are called out. They are authorised to keep registered weapons at home.
- General Staff Headquarters
- 3-4 Motorized rifle battalions
- Tank battalion
- Artillery regiment,
- Engineering battalion
- Mountain battalion
- Intelligence battalion
- Spetsnaz troops
- Honour Guard Battalion (SVOKU)
- Military Band Service of the Ministry of Defense (led by David Terzyan)
- Central Military District (Sukhumi)
- Eastern Military District (Ochamchira)
- Western Military District (Pitsunda)
- Sukhumi Higher Combined-Arms Command School (SVOKU) - The school was founded on October 31, 2000 by order of the Minister of Defence of Abkhazia. The school carries out the training for cadets in the Abkhazian Armed Forces. The academy maintains an Honour Guard Battalion, which is made up of 35 cadets.
The Abkhazian Navy consists of three divisions that are based in Sukhumi, Ochamchire and Pitsunda. Four ships Project 1204 Shmel class PBR, 657 (ex-AK-599), 658 (ex-AK-582), and 328 (ex-AK-248) were transferred from the Russian Navy in the late 1990s. An additional ship ex-AK-527 was also transferred and cannibalized for spares. The three Abkhaz ships did not take part in the 2008 South Ossetia conflict, but their state was unclear. As of 2005 the first two of them had one PSKA Project 1400M Grif ("Zhuk") class PC speed-boats each. The navy also includes several civil vessels that were equipped with guns and unguided rocket artillery systems. NOVOSTI (Russian News & Information Agency) gives the following naval figures: over 20 motor boats armed with machine-guns and small-caliber cannons.
The Abkhazian Air Force uses Russian and Soviet-built aircraft. It is a small force, which numbers only 7 aircraft, 3-4 helicopters, and 250 personnel.
The exact numbers and types of equipment remain unverifiable as no thorough international monitoring has ever been carried out in Abkhazia. NOVOSTI (Russian News & Information Agency) gives the following army figures: 10,000-strong Abkhazian Self Defense Force wielding 60 tanks, including 40 T-72s, 85 artillery pieces and mortars, including several dozen with a 122-152-mm caliber and 116 armored vehicles of different types, also has numerous anti-tank weapons ranging from RPG-7 rocket launchers to Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). Given the status of Abkhazia and recent armed conflict with Georgia a variety of equipment has been utilized by formations of the Abkhazian military, including inherited Soviet equipment, donated Russian weapons, impressed civilian gear, and items captured from the Georgians.
- For aircraft, see Abkhazian Air Force
Tanks, IFVs and APCs
|T-72||Soviet Union / Russia||Main battle tank||9|
|T-55||Soviet Union||Main battle tank||53|
|Infantry Fighting Vehicles|
|BMP-2||Soviet Union / Russia||Infantry fighting vehicle|
|BMP-1||Soviet Union||Infantry fighting vehicle||Approximately 70-85 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers are in service.|
|Armoured personnel carriers|
|BTR-70||Soviet Union||Armored personnel carrier|
|BTR-60||Soviet Union||Armored personnel carrier||40|
|9K37 Buk||Soviet Union / Russia||Surface-to-air missile system|
|ZSU-23-4||Soviet Union / Russia||Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon||6|
|BM-21 "Grad"||Soviet Union||Multiple rocket launcher||7|
|122 mm 2A18||Soviet Union||Field artillery||About 80 towed field artillery pieces are in service|
|85 mm D-44||Soviet Union||Field artillery|
|120 mm mortar||Soviet Union||Mortar||About 42 mortars are in service; exact types are unspecified|
|82 mm mortar||Soviet Union||Mortar|
|KSM-65 100 mm coastal defense gun||Soviet Union||Coastal artillery||In 2008 some were reactivate from storage; exact types and number are unspecified;|
|RPG-18||Soviet Union||Rocket launcher|
|RPG-7||Soviet Union||Rocket launcher|
|PK||Soviet Union||Machine gun|
|RPK||Soviet Union||Light machine gun|
|AS Val||Soviet Union||Suppressed Assault rifle|
|AK-74||Soviet Union||Assault rifle|
|AK-47, AKM||Soviet Union||Assault rifle||Reserves only|
|Dragunov||Soviet Union||Sniper rifle|
|F1||Soviet Union||Hand grenade|
|RGD-5||Soviet Union||Hand grenade|
Russia maintains a 3,500-strong force in Abkhazia with its headquarters in Gudauta, a former Soviet military base on the Black Sea coast north of the capital, Sukhumi, under a September 2009 agreement on military cooperation. The Gudauta base hosts Russia's 131st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, equipped with at least 41 T-90 main battle tanks and 130 BTR-80 APCs.
- Abkhazia is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Abkhazia and Georgia. The Republic of Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence on 23 July 1992, but Georgia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. Abkhazia has received formal recognition as an independent state from 7 out of 193 United Nations member states, 1 of which have subsequently withdrawn their recognition.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a government proposal to bankroll the modernization of the armed forces in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, a government document published online showed on Monday.
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