Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted the «very special relations» Russia holds with Abkhazia, during a meeting with the region's President Raul Khadzhimba on Tuesday in Pitsunda. «We have very special relations with Abkhazia. We reliably guarantee security and independence of Abkhazia,» said Putin. Khadzhimba in turn praised Russia's role in the development of Abkhazia. «Both Abkhazia... Еще and its people would like to sincerely thank you for all the decisions which are taken towards development of our relations,» he said. The leaders also spoke about the development of investment programmes in Abkhazia as well as social support in health care. In August 2008, the capital of South Ossetia became the scene of fierce fighting between Georgian troops and Russian Armed Forces. During the armed conflict a total of 1,747 people were killed. Shortly after the war, Moscow recognised the independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinval region of South Ossetia. In response to this, Georgia severed diplomatic relations with Russia.