Vladimir Putin has approved the government’s proposal to integrate military units of occupied region of Georgia, South Ossetia into the Russian army.
According Ria Novosti and Tass news agencies Putin personally instructed the Russian defense ministry to sign a military agreement with South Ossetia.
The draft of the agreement has been prepared by the Russian Defense Ministry and coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other state agencies. The government’s approval took place on March 7 but the document was officially disclosed only on March 13.
The abovementioned deal allows the Russian military to recruit South Ossetian soldiers as contractors. The agreement specifies that such contracts must be signed on a strictly voluntary basis. Service at the Russian military base will continue in accordance with Russian laws.
“Transfer of some units of South Ossetian Armed Forces into the Russian army is at variance with the Russian legislation,” Tibilov, the de-facto leader of South Ossetia declared.
The Georgian government issued a statement, where Russia’s move was condemned, saying that the decision was “one more obvious step towards de facto annexation of South Ossetia”.
“We call on the international community to assess in a proper way the so-called agreement and to demand that Russia fulfils international obligations,” the statement reads.
The agreement also reads that after the corresponding order issued by the commander-in-chief of the South Ossetian military the Russian base with South Ossetian contract soldiers in required quantities should be completed within six months.
The deal with South Ossetia is very similar to the agreement with the Caucasus Republic of Abkhazia signed in 2014 and ratified by the Russian parliament in January 2015. Both republics were recognized by Russia after a brief war in 2008, as a result, Georgia cut all the dipolomatic relations with Russia.
Even though that under international law South Osetia is part of Georgia’s sovereign territory, the Kremlin is absorbing the region into Russia. Over past decades, it became crystal clear that Russia is doing all it can to consolidate power over South Ossetia. And Kremlin might be attempting another annexation, now of South Ossetia. Anyways, who is going to stop Russia?