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The News in Brief

Thursday, December 21
South Ossetia to Get 9 Polling Stations for Russia’s 2018 Presidential Elections

(TSKHINVALI, South Ossetia) Georgia’s occupied region South Ossetia will open nine polling stations for Russia’s March 18, 2018 presidential elections, the region’s rebel leader Anatoly Bibilov announced Monday.

“Roughly 98 percent of South Ossetia’s residents are Russian citizens,” Bibilov told journalists and attendees of meeting convened to discuss Moscow’s upcoming election campaign season. “Everything needs to be done to enable every Russia citizen in South Ossetia to exercise their constitutional right to participate in the presidential elections.”

In his comments, Bibilov also said that every resident of South Ossetia had “an obligation to vote in the election.”

“I have decided to open nine electoral polling stations in South Ossetia,” said Marat Kulakhmetov, a former Russian Army major general and the Kremlin’s official envoy to the rebel region.

Kulakhmetov asked the heads of the region’s district administrations to compile lists of all Russian citizens residing in their administrative units before January 15.

36,500 residents of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia were registered for Russia’s presidential polls in 2012, according to the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation. The corresponding number for Abkhazia stood at 89,000. (

Saakashvili Calls on Ukraine’s Poroshenko to Resign

(KYIV) -- Georgia’s President and ex-Governor of Ukraine's Odessa Region Mikheil Saakashvili has called on Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to resign in an open letter published by local media outlets.

“You and your colleagues cannot and do not want to change Ukraine for the better. Your resignation is the last chance for the country to overcome the current political crisis," Saakashvili wrote on Facebook on late Tuesday. "Your administration organized a provocation near the Performing Palace (in central Kyiv). I admit, that I fell for this provocation.”

On Sunday, anti-Poroshenko activists broke into the National Performing Arts Palace, located a stone’s throw from the Presidential Palace and the Verkhovna Rada – Ukraine’s Parliament – and engaged in clashes with the National Guard.

Saakashvili urged his supporters to leave the building and later claimed that he did not encourage them to storm the palace, but were provoked by Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies.

Saakashvili has been on the run from the law since he illegally entered Ukraine from Poland in September. While on a trip to the US in July, Poroshenko stripped Saakashvili of the Ukrainian passport that he had granted to the former Georgian president in 2015.

The move left Saakashvili stateless due to the fact he’d lost his Georgian citizenship shortly after taking up the position as Odessa’s governor 36 months ago. (IPN)