Russian President Visits Breakaway Abkhazia

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, visited Georgia’s occupied region of Abkhazia on August 8, a day which marked 9 years since the five-day Georgia-Russia August war in 2008.

Putin met with the so-called President of Abkhazia Raul Khajimba, and stated that Moscow was committed to building a joint Russian-Abkhaz military contingent to ‘ensure the security of the people in Abkhazia.’

"We reliably guarantee the security, self-sufficiency and independence of Abkhazia. I am sure that will continue to be the case,” Reuters quoted Putin.

Russian news agency Tass reports that at the meeting Putin pointed to the need for identifying only the optimal ways of developing Abkhazia’s economy for creating jobs and its own tax base.

Apsnypress, the de facto Abkhazian state-led news agency reports that the de facto president of Abkhazia stressed August 8 was a day of mourning for Abkhazians and Ossetians.

“On this day began the large-scale operation by the Georgian army and the decisive actions taken by Russia, which enabled the preservation of South Ossetia and of course gave the possibility for further recognition of our governments, for which we convey enormous thanks,” the article reads. reports that NATO criticized Putin for visiting occupied Abkhazia.

“President Putin’s visit to the Abkhazia region of Georgia — on the ninth anniversary of the armed conflict — is detrimental to international efforts to find a peaceful and negotiated settlement,” the spokesman, Dylan White, said in a statement.

“We regret that this visit was carried out without prior consent of the Georgian authorities,” he added.

Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has released a statement regarding Putin’s visit to the Georgian occupied territory, saying this step represents a continuation of Moscow's deliberate policy against Georgia. 

The MFA says that such action on the 9th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war is a legitimization of forceful change of borders of the sovereign state through military aggression, ethnic cleansing and occupation.

“By taking this step, the Kremlin tries in vain to support and legitimize its occupation regimes,” the statement reads.

The ministry calls upon the Russian Federation to cease its provocative actions against the Georgian statehood and respect the territorial integrity of the sovereign state.

The MFA also appeals to the international community to duly assess Moscow’s aggressive steps and take effective measures to ensure that the Russian Federation fulfills its international obligations, including the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. 

By Thea Morrison

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09 August 2017 10:57