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Russia’s Duma Ratifies “Military Deal” with Breakaway S. Ossetia

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 26
Russia’s lower house of Parliament, the State Duma, ratified the so called military deal with Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia on January 24.

The so-called deal was signed by Russia and de facto South Ossetia on March 31, 2017, and it envisages the incorporation of the unlawful military units of the occupied Tskhinvali region into the military forces of Russia.

Under the agreement, South Ossetians, who have Russian citizenship, reside in the republic and are liable for military duty, may be recruited for contract service in the Russian army.

The document reads that sending them to the Russian military base in breakaway South Ossetia will be on a voluntary basis.

Upon concluding such a contract, a citizen must be discharged from military service in the de facto South Ossetian armed forces and his further active duty will be regulated by the Russian legislation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin filed a draft law to the State Duma over the ratification of the so-called military agreement in early December, 2017.

The agreement was ratified by the de facto Parliament of South Ossetia on July 21, 2017.

Russian Federation has the similar “agreement” with Georgia’s another Russian-backed separatist region – Abkhazia.

It was ratified by Russian State Duma in November 2016 and envisages setting up a Russian military base in occupied Abkhazia, two motor rifle battalions, artillery and aviation groups, and a special-purpose detachment.

The mutual agreement was signed in Moscow on November 21, 2015. According to the agreement, the organization and conduct of joint activities will be carried out on the basis of mutual guidelines of the general staff of the Russian Federation’s armed forces and Abkhazia.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA) has released a statement, condemning the ratification of the so called deal with occupied Tskhinvali.

“This represents another unlawful step by the Russian Federation towards factual annexation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia, in full disregard for the fundamental norms and principles of international law,” the statement reads.

Moreover, Tbilisi called upon the Russian Federation to cease its provocations, to comply with its international obligations and implement all provisions of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, including the withdrawal of its military forces from Georgian territory.

“We appeal also to the international community to duly assess Russia’s far-reaching aggressive policy and take the effective measures in order to counter the ongoing illegal processes in Georgia’s occupied territories,” the MFA of Georgia stated.

Russia recognized breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states in 2008, in a wake of Georgia-Russian August war.

Only four countries in the world recognize these two regions of Georgia as independent states, the rest international community say they are integral part of Georgia.