Russia to fund modernisation of army in occupied Georgian region

(L-R) Chief of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu meet with members of Russian Yunarmiya youth military organization during the main phase of the Center 2019 strategic military exercise at the Donguz test ground outside Orenburg, Russia, 20 September 2019. [Kremlin pool/EPA/EFE]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a government proposal to bankroll the modernisation of the armed forces in the occupied Georgian region of Abkhazia, a government document published online showed on Monday (23 September).

Georgia lost control of the Black Sea region of Abkhazia after a short war in August 2008.

Russia is one of only a handful of countries to recognise Abkhazia’s independence, something it decided to do in 2008 after it won a short war against Georgia over the fate of another Georgian breakaway region.

Russia, which has its own troops on the ground, will sign an agreement to finance the modernisation of Abkhazia’s armed forces after detailed negotiations are over, the government document said.

Georgia condemned the move and called the agreement between Russia and Abkhazia illegal.

“This is another illegal step by the Russian Federation to integrate the Georgian regions into the Russian political and military space, which is a continuation of Russia’s annexed policy,” said Vladimer Konstantinidi, Georgia’s foreign ministry spokesman.

Georgia, which aspires to join the European Union and NATO, has not had diplomatic relations with Russia since 2008.

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Foreign affairs chiefs from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine met in Georgia this week to take part in commemorations marking 10 years since Russia’s invasion of the Caucasus Republic during 2008’s August War.

It wants to get back control of Abkhazia and another breakaway region, South Ossetia, and for Russian troops to leave.

The EU supports the territorial integrity of Georgia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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