A Russian diplomat working for the Russian embassy in breakaway Abkhazia was shot and killed in Sokhumi early on September 9, the Abkhaz and Russian news agencies reported.
Dmitry Vishernev, the first secretary of the Russian embassy, was killed after unknown gunman opened fire on an embassy’s Hyundai Tucson SUV as the diplomat drove it out of a garage at about 8:30 am local time outside an apartment building he lived in, the Abkhaz news agency Apsnipress reported.
Vishernev’s wife, an employee of the consular section of the Russian embassy, who was also in the car, was wounded in the attack, according to the prosecutor’s office of the breakaway region.
An explosive device was also found on the crime scene, Apsnipress reported quoting an official from the prosecutor’s office.
Abkhaz leader Alexander Ankvab, who convened an emergency meeting with the leadership of the law enforcement agencies, said that “it’s an extraordinary case” and added it was not yet clear what the possible motives were.
“All the efforts should be made to resolve this case,” Ankvab was quoted by the Apsnipress news agency. “All the resources should be maximally put into operation.”
Russian ambassador in Sokhumi, Sergey Grigoryev, told Interfax news agency it’s “premature” to speak about any possible motives at this stage of investigation.
The breakaway region’s foreign ministry said in a statement: “No matter what the motive of this monstrous crime was, the Abkhaz Foreign Ministry considers murder case of the Russian diplomat as an attempt against peace and stability in the Republic of Abkhazia and as an action directed towards undermining strategic and brotherly Russian-Abkhaz relations.”
It also condemned the attack as “a provocation with a calculation to cause various consequences, including political ones.”
“The murder of the Russian diplomat is our common tragedy,” the breakaway region’s foreign ministry said. “Those who masterminded and executed this terrible crime are enemies of the people of Abkhazia and future of our country. Perpetrators will definitely be arrested and held responsible.”