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Russia will use ‘soft force’ to stir conflicts

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 26
Georgia’s Defence Strategic Review Document 2017-2020 reads that Russia will continue its propaganda efforts and use “soft force” - not an open confrontation - in order to weaken the Georgia's state institutions, stir ethic confrontations, empower pro-Russian groups and discredit Georgia’s European course.

However, the document also says that the threat of renewed large-scale aggression remains, since the 2008 Ceasefire agreement is not fulfilled by Russia, and the occupant forces are still present in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) in the wake of the Russia-Georgia 2008 war.

“Growing militarization, the modernization of military forces and attempts to garner influence in the region accumulates the risk of continued aggression, which was clearly attested during Crimea’s annexation and developments in eastern Ukraine,” the document says.

It continues on to state that the signing of the so-called liaison agreements with Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions’ de-facto governments by Russia and absence of international peacekeeping missions highlight the risk of the renewed aggression.

“Russia’s military aggression in August 2008, the occupation of the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, the deployment of Russia’s occupation forces and military infrastructure has significantly worsened the security environment in the country.

“The recognition of Abkhazia’s and Tskhinvali’s independence and continuation of the so-called creeping annexation violate both Georgia’s sovereignty and international law and tarnishes the fundamental rights of the local population,” the document reads.

When discussing the regional security environment, the document stresses that the recent unstable situation in the Black Sea region, the annexation of Crimea and developments in eastern Ukraine, the unstable situation in the North Caucasus as well as the unresolved Karabakh conflict negatively affect the regional and Georgia’s security environment.

Within the global framework, globalization, climate change, migration processes, international terrorism, the spread of destructive weapons and cyber threats all negatively affect Georgia’s security, the document adds.

The document was drafted by the Defence Ministry and approved by the government for the years of 2017-2020.

The document defines the directions of the ministry as well as the structural, institutional and operative capacities of the Armed Forces, and describes existing situations, threats and challenges.