The ex-Soviet breakaway region along with two other self-proclaimed republics, Georgia's South Ossetia and Moldova's Transdnestr, have stepped up their drive for self-rule since Kosovo's declaration of independence, requesting that Russia, the UN and other organizations recognize their sovereignty.
"We want a lawful state, independent and democratic... If Kosovo can be independent then so can Abkhazia," Sergei Bagapsh said in an interview with the Spanish El Pais newspaper.
Kosovo, with a 90% ethnic-Albanian majority, has been formally recognized as a sovereign state by over 35 countries including the U.S. and most EU members since it proclaimed its independence. Russia and China opposed Kosovo's independence.
"We [Abkhazia] do not want Moscow to recognize us in defiance of the United States in order to take revenge for Kosovo. We want independence because we have a right to it. Because we have deserved it," he said.
Bagapsh said that if Abkhazia is granted independence, it would be a demilitarized country with no weapons or military units, but it would need security guarantees from other countries to achieve this.
Russia, he said, is interested in the outlet to the Black Sea and in Abkhazia's 240 km (149 miles) of shoreline and "That is why Georgia should think and recognize Abkhazia as a neutral and demilitarized country."
The interview comes amid a dispute between the unrecognized republic, Russia and Georgia over the alleged downing of Georgian drones over Abkhazia, and with Moscow and Tbilisi trading accusations of military expansion in the territory.
The unrecognized republic of Abkhazia claimed last Sunday it had downed two Georgian drones over its airspace and said on Monday it had detected two more unmanned reconnaissance planes, but had taken no action. Georgia dismissed the reports as "absurd," accusing the region of trying to escalate tensions.
Bagapsh said that Georgia is "a very aggressive country armed to the teeth by Europe," adding that "Greek, Ukrainian, Turkish and American [military] instructors have equipped Georgia."
Russia, which has administered a peacekeeping contingent in Georgia's breakaway regions since bloody conflicts in the 1990s, dispatched additional troops to Abkhazia recently to deter what it calls a planned Georgian military offensive. Tbilisi accuses Russian troops of siding with separatists.
"Russian peacekeepers will not leave Abkhazia. The formula [for their presence] will change, which is a subject for talks with Moscow. For instance, a possible new military agreement would specify the presence of Russian soldiers and [military] bases here until the situation in Georgia is resolved," Bagapsh said.
"If the United States has national and geopolitical interests in Kyrgyzstan, then why can't Russia have interests in Abkhazia, which borders its city of Sochi," he said. "Russia does not want NATO soldiers just 15 km (9 miles) from Sochi."
Georgia has been seeking NATO membership, backed by the U.S., ever since President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2004 on the back of a bloodless revolution. At a NATO summit in early April, NATO powers voted against admitting Georgia to the alliance's Membership Plan, but said they would review the bid at the end of the year.
Located on a key Europe-bound route for Caspian oil and natural gas, Georgia has been at the center of a struggle for influence between the West and Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.