May 29 - Sergei Bagapsh, leader of Georgian breakaway republic Abkhazia, dies a week after lung surgery. Andrew Raven reports.
Flags are lowered in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia. The ceremony marks the death of the district's president, Sergei Bagapsh. The 62-year-old died on Sunday in Moscow - one week after undergoing lung surgery. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) ABKHAZ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, NUKZAR ASHUBA: "The loss of Sergei Vasilyevich (Bagapsh) is an irreplaceable loss for our people, for our young country. It is a bereavement which will be hard to recoup." Bagapsh, who maintained close ties with Russia, was elected president of Abkhazia in 2009. His death was unexpected. Doctors had said earlier that he was recovering well from the operation on his lungs. Abkhazia, located on the Black Sea, separated from Georgia in the 1990s. Its relations with Georgia are tense and the region is not recognized as an independent nation by most countries. Andrew Raven, Reuters