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Russia sends anti-aircraft missiles to Abkhazia

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, March 20
Georgian government has condemned the deployment of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.

The video, depicting the transportation of missiles to Abkhazia’s Gudauta region, was released on the internet a few days ago.

Georgian authorities say this is another step of Russia towards the complete annexation of Georgian territories, and call on the international community to act.

Georgia's opposition parties blame the government for the recent developments in the breakaway regions. They believe the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party is not taking active steps to prevent Russia’s aggressive actions towards Georgia.

“The foreign policy of the Georgian government only makes the Russian Federation feel more comfortable,” Giorgi Kandelaki, a member of the parliamentary minority Movement for Freedom-European Georgia, stressed.

“The aggressive steps taken by Russia in Georgia’s occupied regions should be condemned by the international community. We are discussing this issue in all international formats,” Georgian Foreign Minister Janelidze said.

The minister also added that Georgia is oriented towards the peaceful resolution of the conflict and it is essentially important to ensure that the Russian Federation complies with the norms and principles of international law and de-occupies the territories of Georgia.

Viktor Dolidze, Georgia’s State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, says Russia’s steps are “destructive”.

“These steps will create danger not only to Georgia and the Caucasus region, but to the whole of Europe,” said Dolidze.

The so-called military deal between Russia and de facto independent Abkhazia was ratified by Russia’s Duma in November 2016.

The document was signed in Moscow in November 2015, outlining the creation of a joint group of armed forces between Russia and Georgia’s breakaway region.

The illegal deal said that the main task of the combined force would be "adequate reaction to an armed assault (aggression)”.

This joint group contained Russian troops deployed in occupied Abkhazia, two Abkhazian motorized infantries, artillery and aviation groups as well as special forces units.

Despite its activities in de facto Abkhazia, Russia is taking the same steps towards Georgia’s another occupied Tskhinvali Region – South Ossetia.

Several days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to sign an agreement integrating the forces of South Ossetia into the Russian Army.

Under the document, the integration of South Ossetian units into the Russian Armed Forces involves recruiting citizens for military service in the Russian Armed Forces and sending them to Russian military bases to prepare for active duty.

The deal will allow the Russian military to recruit South Ossetian soldiers as contractors after they have been dismissed from service by South Ossetia.