The separatist leader of South Ossetia, Georgia’s breakaway region said the Moscow-backed territory is planning to take steps to become part of Russia.
“I believe that unification with Russia is our strategic goal, our path, the aspiration of the people,” Separatist Leader of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov said.
“We will take the relevant legislative steps shortly. The republic of South Ossetia will be part of its historical homeland – Russia,” Bibilov added.
However, another Russian-backed breakaway region of Georgia, Abkhazia, said it had no plans to join Russia.
“Russia is our strategic partner, a dear and close state, but we in the republic [of Abkhazia] have no intention of joining the Russian Federation,” Parliamentary Speaker Valery Kvarchia said.
Abkhazia’s Security Council Secretary Sergei Shamba said that the region supported South Ossetia’s aspirations but that it did not share its goal to join Russia.
Meanwhile, South Ossetia’s former separatist leader Eduard Kokoity said that “hundreds of fighters” had joined Russia’s war in Ukraine, and were treated as “cannon fodder.”
Russia has recognized South Ossetia as an independent state in 2008 and has provided the separatist region with extensive financial support, offered Russian citizenship to its population, and stationed thousands of Russian troops there.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Georgia with Russian backing in the early 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed, but Moscow gained complete control over the two regions in 2008.
Moscow also recognized Donbas, an eastern region of Ukraine, awarded citizenships, and maintained an armed presence there.
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