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Putin orders to sign deal on financing Abkhazian army

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, September 24
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered to sign an agreement on allocating funds for modernizing breakaway Abkhazia’s armed forces.

An executive order was published on the legal information website on Monday.

“I order to accept the Russian government’s proposal on signing an Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Abkhazia on financing the expenses on modernizing the Armed Forces of the Republic of Abkhazia," the published document reads.

Russian media reports that the deal will be signed after talks between the Russian Defense and Foreign ministries with de facto Abkhazia.

The so-called legal framework of bilateral cooperation between Russia and occupied Abkhazia includes more than 100 bilateral documents at various levels, including the fundamental “Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance” signed on September 17, 2008, and the “Treaty of Alliance and Strategic Partnership” on November 24, 2014, that envisages the creation of a joint force of troops from both sides.

Military cooperation between Russia and occupied Abkhazia was fully launched after Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states in the wake of the August War 2008.

After the war, which left 20% of the Georgian territories occupied by Russia, Russia set up its military bases in these regions and deployed its troops there.

In addition to this, Russia has been a key trading partner of Abkhazia and amounts to 74.5% of the total foreign trade turnover of the republic.

In 2018, Russia's trade with occupied Abkhazia amounted to $ 258.6 million, including Russian exports - $ 192.4 million, and imports - $ 66.2 million. According to the results of January-March 2019, the volume of mutual trade turnover amounted to $ 49.9 million, including Russian exports - $ 38.9 million and imports - $ 10.9 million.

Following Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Vanuatu also recognized these regions as countries, however, the latter withdrew its recognition in 2013. Last year, Syria also expressed its support to the de-facto regions.

The rest of the international society says Abkhazia and South Ossetia are parts of Georgia and call on Russia to withdraw its forces from these territories.