It has become more difficult for Ukrainian citizens living in Abkhazia to go back to Ukraine
Ukrainian citizens in Abkhazia
Ukrainian citizens living in Abkhazia can only legally exit through Russia, but this route was closed following the introduction of special entry procedures for Ukrainian citizens in Russia in early October 2023.
Thus they are effectively unable to travel.
To address this issue, Abkhazian authorities permit passage through the Ingur river checkpoint, located in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict. But this option is available only “for humanitarian reasons.”
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There are several hundred Ukrainian citizens residing permanently in Abkhazia, primarily originating from Donbas or Crimea, who relocated there in 2014 or shortly thereafter due to the ongoing military events.
They still hold Ukrainian passports, which has effectively trapped them in Abkhazia.
For Ukrainian citizens desiring to leave Abkhazia, the procedure involves reaching out to the consular department of the ministry of foreign affairs or a division of the border detachment of the state security service of Abkhazia. These agencies then enter direct negotiations with their counterparts in Russia to resolve the matter on an individual basis, without any guarantees.
Moscow may then accept or decline, and the coordination process can span a few days to several weeks.
The Ingur River checkpoint is governed by regulations that allow the passage of only Abkhazian citizens. Every Abkhazian citizen must obtain permission from the Abkhazian state security service to use this checkpoint.
Citizens of other states are not granted access through this checkpoint.
Ukrainian citizens, for “humanitarian reasons,” will now have the opportunity to use this exit. This process involves the submission of an application, which will be reviewed within a five-day period. If the application is approved, Ukrainians can proceed through this checkpoint, facilitating their journey to Ukraine, possibly via Tbilisi.
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