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The News in Brief

Monday, March 20
Russian Army to Absorb South Ossetia Units

Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed a new defense agreement “On the Order of Inclusion of Certain Units of the Armed Forces of South Ossetia in the Russian Armed Forces,” formalizing the merger of the region’s military units into the Russian armed forces.

The March 14 Presidential ordinance authorized the Russian Defense Ministry to hold talks on the agreement with its South Ossetian counterpart and sign the document on behalf of the Russian Federation. Although the document is not finalized, the Defense Ministry was only authorized to make “minor amendments” to the draft agreement.

According to the agreement, Moscow will admit the South Ossetian army personnel for military service at the Russian military base in breakaway South Ossetia.

Moscow will recognize their mandatory military service in the armed forces of South Ossetia, as well as their military ranks, meaning that the South Ossetian army personnel will enter the Russian Army at the same rank they obtained in their armed forces and hence, be able to enjoy same benefits and salaries as Russian soldiers.

Upon recruitment, the servicemen will have to quit the South Ossetian army. The number of South Ossetian army personnel will be reduced by a corresponding number of servicemen and the figure, as well as “the tasks and the structure,” will have to be agreed with the Russian Federation.

The transition of the South Ossetian armed forces “to a new organizational-staff structure” will be completed in nine months after the document’s enforcement, once the parties “complete internal state procedures.”

The draft agreement “On the Order of Inclusion of Certain Units of the Armed Forces of South Ossetia in the Russian Armed Forces,” is part of the treaty on “the Alliance and Integration” signed between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov on March 18, 2015 for a period of 25 years.

Hungarian tourist killed by avalanche in Georgia

A Hungarian tourist died in an avalanche in Georgia on Friday while skiing near Gudauri, a mountain resort north of Tbilisi.

Authorities did not identity the victim beyond describing him as a man aged around 40.

The accident occurred when a group of tourists were skiing away from the main skiing routes.

The body was pulled out of the snow a few minutes after the avalanche hit, but his life could not be saved.

Skiing in the high mountains is particularly dangerous in March, because the thawing snow increases the risk of avalanches.

Official visit

It is not known whether the victim had any connection to a group of Hungarian officials who are visiting Georgia. The delegation is headed by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who met Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday.
(DF watch)

Hungary to annually allocate scholarships for Georgian students

As Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has declared, Hungary is deeply involved in cooperation with Georgia in the education sphere and plans to allocate up to 50 scholarships for Georgian students annually in order them to get education in Hungary.

As Georgia’s Foreign Ministry has reported, the Hungarian PM declared about this while meeting with his Georgian counterpart.

‘We hope the Georgian young people will benefit from it and promote further popularization of friendly relationships between the countries,’ Peter Szijjarto said.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze has thanked his Hungarian counterpart for assistance.

Tbilisi TV Tower goes green for Ireland

Tbilisi’s iconic TV Tower was among a number of world-wide stadiums, statues, castles and towers all around the globe that went green to celebrate Ireland's St. Patrick’s Day.

This is the third year Tbilisi has officially joined in the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

For the first celebration in 2015, the Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) building was illuminated in green in addition to Tbilisi’s TV tower for the Irish holiday.

The event was part of Tourism Ireland’s annual Global Greening initiative, in which a number of the world’s iconic landmarks participated, including the London Eye, Nelson’s Column in London, Selfridges department store in London, the Colosseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Burj al Arab in Dubai, the Roue de Paris, the ‘Welcome’ sign in Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building in New York, the Sky Tower in New Zealand and the Great Wall of China.