The Defence Ministry of Abkhazia (a self-proclaimed republic in Georgia) has announced that a UN helicopter monitoring the situation in Georgia crashed on Monday morning at about 9.15 a.m. Moscow time. According to the preliminary information, the Mi-8 helicopter crashed in the Gulripshsky district, where armed formations are stationed, several days after they attempted to seize the village of Georgiyevskoye, 30 km from Sukhumi (Abkhazian capital). There were nine people on board, including three crew members. Their fates are not yet known. It is believed that the helicopter had been in the region on an inspection mission. The UN has refused to comment on the incident, neither denying nor confirming any information. Tbilisi was expected to host a session of the Coordination Council under the aegis of the UN on settling the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, but it now cannot be ruled out that the talks will be cancelled as a result of the difficult situation in the conflict zone.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969