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15th Aug 2022

EU condemns Russian agreement with South Ossetia, Abkhazia

  • A European Union Monitoring Mission team at work near the border with South Ossetia (Photo: EUobserver)

Russia has taken official control of the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a 10-year deal with the two Georgian breakaway regions.

The move, made in a formal ceremony at the Kremlin on Thursday (30 April), comes as Nato moves forward with planned exercises in Georgia next week and only a day after Russia and Nato resumed official contacts following the Georgian war last August.

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The European Union alongside Nato and the United States have condemned the development as a breach of the 2008 Russia-Georgia peace agreement brokered by the EU.

Under the new deal, Moscow extends its responsibility for patrolling the two republics' effective borders with Georgia proper.

The Czech Republic, which currently sits at the helm of the EU's six-month rotating presidency, immediately criticised Russia's actions, saying in a statement that it was "deeply concerned" and "in contradiction with the six point agreement of August 12, 2008."

The statement added that the EU supports the "sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia in its internationally recognised borders."

"Security matters should be discussed in relevant international fora."

Nato called the move a "clear contravention" of the ceasefire agreement, a characterisation echoed by the US.

"This action contravenes Russia's commitments under the August 12 ceasefire," said US State Department spokesman Robert Wood, adding that the deal "violates Georgia's territorial integrity."

Russia, for its part, accuses Nato of its own provocation in the region for planning military exercises in Georgia next week.

"The planned Nato exercises in Georgia, no matter how our Western partners try to convince us otherwise, are an overt provocation," said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"One cannot carry out exercises in a place where there was just a war," he added.

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