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Russia ratifies military deal with Georgia’s occupied region

By Messenger Staff
Friday, November 4
The Russian State Duma has ratified an agreement about the formation of a combined group of Russian and Abkhazian troops.

The document was signed in Moscow in November 2015.

The agreement, which has already been condemned by the international community, reads that a key task of the combined group will be to ensure an "adequate response to an armed attack or any aggression”.

The joint group will include the Russian military base in Abkhazia, two Abkhaz motorized battalions, artillery and aviation groups and a special forces unit.

The group will be headed by a representative from the Russian base.

According to Leonid Kalashnikov, Chairman of Russia's CIS Affairs Committee, the ratification of the document is in the interests of Russia and contributes to the strengthening of state sovereignty and supports the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.

Russia generally claims such agreements are made in order to protect the interests of “ those nations which are suppressed and whom the Russian Federation protects”.

The ratification of the deal is a gross violation of all international norms, as Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali are recognized world wide, as integral parts of Georgia.

The document is one more signal that Russia continues its aggression against Georgia and, unfortunately, the only thing the current Georgian Government can do in such a situation is to inform the international community and ask for an adequate reaction.

The International response however generally amounts to statements of condemnation.

Unlike Tskhinvali, Abkhazia has already refused any referendum to officially join Russia.

As the so-called leaders of the de-facto region say, “Abkhazia wants independence”.

However, it is less likely that Russia will let the region have any independence as it wants Abkhazia's coastal land but not its people.

Perhaps the only outcome from the situation is that people-to-people contacts will gradually be restored and Abkhazians will see the benefits of being aligned with Georgia again. Though it seems that such developments will take quite a time.