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De facto president of occupied Abkhazia meets Putin

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, August 8
Raul Khajimba, de facto President of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, had a meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on August 6.

Abkhazian media reports that the President of Russia noted the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the implementation of previously outlined plans, as well as social development projects.

Putin also expressed hope that the upcoming so-called presidential elections in Abkhazia will be held in line with “democratic principles and will contribute to further economic and democratic stabilization” of the occupied region.

“Our meeting is held on the eve of the elections in Abkhazia. I do hope that they will be organized strictly in line with democratic principles and will contribute to further stabilization in the republic, both in the economic and political sense,” Putin said.

During the meeting, Khadjimba emphasized the importance of meeting and discussing issues of interstate relations. He also praised Putin for the assistance received from Russia.

“The work that is being carried out through the Investment Program, the Investment Agency, is almost at the stage of completion. These are socially significant objects, such as schools, kindergartens. Work is underway to reconstruct the power system. Thanks to the financial assistance allocated by Russia, roads are being built,” he said.

Khajimba also noted that the assistance from Russia would give occupied Abkhazia the opportunity to develop economically.

“These also include issues related to transport communications, maritime communications, and air communications,” he said.

The de facto president of breakaway Abkhazia also commended the relations with Russia during an interview with the Abkhazian TV within the framework of his so-called re-election campaign. The de facto Abkhazian presidential elections are set for August 25.

According to him, the Russian president “knows the situation in Abkhazia, the history of relations with Georgia very well and has a favorable view of the Abkhazian people.”

“I can say that the current relations are very good. In recent years, there have been several meetings with the Russian head of state, during which we have hashed over issues related to bilateral relations and the development of Abkhazia,” he said.

Georgia’s State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said this is not the first meeting of Putin and Khajimba. According to her, Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty have the absolute support of the international community.

“This was not a big surprise, as, since 2008, Russian influence has been steadily increasing in both occupied territories of Georgia. In Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region, all areas are under the exclusive control of Russia, and such meetings only help to increase this influence,” she said.

Putin met Khajimba last time in late August 2018 together with the leader of another occupied region of Georgia, South Ossetia - Anatoly Bibilov to celebrate the “recognition of the independence of the two regions,” which were occupied by Russia during August 2008 war.