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Following intensifying Ukrainian strikes on Russian warships, Russia will establish a naval station on the Black Sea coast of a separatist area in Georgia, its commander said in an interview on Thursday.
According to Mr. Bzhania, the new naval facility in the Ochamchire district will strengthen Russia’s and Abkhazia’s defense capabilities and “safeguard the fundamental interests” of both countries. Security is paramount, he said to Izvestia. Moscow has recognized the region of South Ossetia and its enclave as separate entities.
Since Moscow pulled out of a treaty guaranteeing safe passage for cargo ships to and from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in July, tensions on the crucial waterway have risen. Bzhania met with Putin earlier this week and endorsed Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian-Georgian conflict
The breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which had sought sovereignty from Georgia since the early 1990s, were at the core of the Russia-Georgia confrontation in 2008. Years of growing tension culminated in August 2008, when everything finally came to a head.
Georgia launched an operation to retake South Ossetia, which drew a rapid and overwhelming response from Moscow, sparking the conflict. The Russian military invaded South Ossetia and Abkhazia under the pretense of defending local Russian residents. Rapid conflict escalation resulted from accusations of aggressiveness on both sides.
Significant civilian casualties and evictions were caused by the battle. The United Nations and the European Union demanded an immediate ceasefire and a diplomatic solution on behalf of the world community. Eventually, both sides agreed to a cease-fire mediated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was in charge of the EU leadership at the time.
Despite the ceasefire, Moscow recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, a decision that was roundly denounced by the international community. Russian forces are still stationed in these areas, and relations between Moscow and Tbilisi are tense as a result of the conflict.
Importance of Abkhazia base
Moscow’s Black Sea naval actions are allegedly shifting eastward as a result of increased Ukrainian attacks in the annexed Crimea, according to the UK defense ministry. High-resolution satellite images demonstrate that at least 17 boats have moved from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk.
500 kilometers (300 miles) more south-east of Novorossiysk, along the Black Sea coast, is the location of the alleged new Abkhazia base. By stationing ships in Abkhazia, the possibility of Russian attacks from Georgian soil or Ukrainian assaults on Georgian soil increases.
Moscow’s Black Sea fleet is conceived of as the navy’s flagship. The ships launched missiles against Ukraine, which seriously damaged the country. Due to this, Kiev made it a major priority to strike the fleet’s command center in Crimea in late September, reporting that this resulted in the deaths of 34 Russian officers.
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for the president Vladimer Putin, referred reporters to the defense ministry when asked about ship deployments.
Georgian concerns over the move
The plan, according to Georgian authorities, was “a blatant breach of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“We express concern over the statement of Russia’s occupation regime in Sukhumi regarding the establishment of an additional Russian military base on Georgia’s occupied territory,” the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.
However, the opposition has charged Georgian officials with making overtures to the Kremlin.