Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the breakaway republic of Abkhazia and pledged to support its “stability and independence” on the anniversary of the outbreak of war with Georgia in 2008.
The visit, on August 8, marked the ninth anniversary of Russia’s war with Georgia over another breakaway republic, South Ossetia. Shortly after the end of that five-day war, Russia recognized both Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. Only a handful of countries have followed suit, and most of the rest of the world continues to regard the two entities as part of Georgia.
“For South Ossetia and Abkhazia, August 8 is a day of mourning,” said Raul Khajimba, the de facto president of Abkhazia, at a joint appearance with Putin. “On this date began the large-scale operation by the Georgian army and the decisive actions taken by Russia, which enabled the preservation of South Ossetia and of course gave the possibility for further recognition of our governments, for which we convey enormous thanks.”
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Joshua Kucera is the Turkey/Caucasus editor at EurasiaNet.org, and author of The Bug Pit. He is based in Istanbul.