Georgia said the signing of a border deal between Russia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia on February 18 means Moscow was one step nearer to officially annexing the territory.
“It’s yet another action directed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and an attempt to artificially redraw internationally recognized borders,” said the Georgian Foreign Ministry.
In 2008, Russia fought a war with Georgia over South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia. After the five-day conflict ended, Moscow recognized both regions as independent nations and asserted control over them. Only a handful of other countries have recognized the two regions’ declarations of independence, and Tbilisi insists they remain part of Georgia.
Last November, Moscow moved toward consolidating the spoils of that war by signing a “strategic partnership” deal with Abkhazia, which integrates Russian security and military forces into those of Abkhazia. The February 18 deal shows that Russia is now creating a similar scenario with South Ossetia.
Georgia has ambitions to join nato, but Russia has said it would not allow such a move. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would “take measures to prevent the negative effect of attempts to drag Tbilisi into nato.”
Full article: Russia Is ‘Pulling a Crimea’ in Georgia (The Trumpet)