Russian President Visits Breakaway Abkhazia

Russian President Visits Breakaway Abkhazia

Russias President Vladimir Putin plans to visit Georgias western occupied Abkhazia region on August 8, the day when the Russia-Georgia broke out in 2008, Russian media outlets report.

Mr Putin arrived in Abkhazia's Black Sea resort of Pitsunda on Tuesday, coinciding with the ninth anniversary of the Russo-Georgian conflict of 2008.

"The United States fully supports Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and rejects Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia", she said.

During his visit, Putin expressed Russia's commitment to building a joint military contingent with Abkhazia's separatist administration's leader Raul Khadzhimba, according to Reuters.

"President Putin's visit to the Abkhazia region of Georgia on the ninth anniversary of the armed conflict is detrimental to global efforts to find a peaceful and negotiated settlement", the spokesman said in an emailed statement. "I am sure that this will continue in the future".

Russia has all but annexed the two regions, which exist only thanks to Russian economic aid and the protection of the Russian military and security services.

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Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990s.

Khajimba, like Putin, is a former officer in the Soviet-era KGB spy agency.

The MFA also appeals also to the worldwide community to duly assess Moscow's aggressive steps and take effective measures to ensure that the Russian Federation fulfills its global obligations, including the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.

"Guests, from wherever they come, including from Russian Federation, should understand and feel that they are under reliable protection", Putin said at the meeting, according to a statement by the Kremlin. The region is popular with Russians as a cut-price holiday destination.

"Russia may be interested in having a full-fledged military base in Belarus, but an annexation means it would lose one of its last loyal allies and increase tensions with the West", said Laurynas Jonavicius, a Vilnius University analyst.

A representative of Russias State Duma, Konstantin Zatulin, said Putins visit is connected with the tense situation in Abkhazia and US Vice President Mike Pences recent trip to Georgia.

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