Abkhazia is a disputed territory and partially recognised state controlled by a separatist government on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.
Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny. This status is recognised by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, and also by the partially recognised state of South Ossetia, and the unrecognised Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Georgian government, United Nations and the majority of the world's governments consider Abkhazia a part of Georgia's territory, though Georgia is not in control of it. Under Georgia's official designation it is an autonomous republic, called the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, whose government sits in exile in Tbilisi.
The status of Abkhazia is a central issue of the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict. The wider region formed part of the Soviet Union until 1991. As the Soviet Union began to disintegrate towards the end of the 1980s, ethnic tensions grew between the Abkhaz and Georgians over Georgia's moves towards independence. This led to the 1992–1993 War in Abkhazia that resulted in a Georgian military defeat, de facto independence of Abkhazia and the mass exodus and ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population from Abkhazia.
In spite of the 1994 ceasefire agreement and years of negotiations, the status dispute has not been resolved, and despite the long-term presence of a United Nations monitoring force and a Russian-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping operation, the conflict has flared up on several occasions. In August 2008, the sides again fought during the South Ossetia War, which was followed by the formal recognition of Abkhazia by Russia, the annulment of the 1994 ceasefire agreement and the termination of the UN and OSCE missions. On 28 August 2008, the Parliament of Georgia passed a resolution declaring Abkhazia a Russian-occupied territory. A major part of international community considers Abkhazia to be occupied by Russian military. Russia does not allow the EUMM monitors to enter Abkhazia.
Abkhazia, Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia are post-Soviet "frozen conflict" zones. These four states maintain friendly relations with each other and form the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations.