Russia Reiterates Support for South Ossetia
Vladamir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, has vowed to protect the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a year after it recognised their independence. Speaking at the opening of a direct gas pipeline to South Ossetia, Vladimir Putin said his country would not allow any “military escapades” by Georgia.The two fought a war last year, during which Georgia’s attempts to regain control of South Ossetia were repelled. Earlier, Russia’s military said it had halved its presence in the two regions.
Gen Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the general staff, announced that Russia now had about 1,700 troops deployed in South Ossetia and a similar number in Abkhazia. At the inauguration ceremony for the new pipeline in Moscow on Wednesday, Mr Putin said Russia would defend the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which it officially recognised for the first time after last August’s war.
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