Georgia: the South Ossetia region will hold a referendum on its integration into Russia

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The region of South Ossetia, located in the north of Georgia, will hold a referendum on its integration into Russia on July 17, the services of its former “president” announced on Friday. At the end of the Russo-Georgian war in 2008, the Kremlin recognized the independence of South Ossetia where it deployed troops.

The authorities of the separatist region of South Ossetia, a Georgian territory supported by Moscow, announced on Friday May 13 the organization on July 17 of a referendum on its integration into Russia.

“President” Anatoly Bibilov “has signed a decree on holding a referendum in the Republic of South Ossetia”, his office said in a statement, referring to the “historic aspiration” of the inhabitants of this small Caucasian territory to join Russia, of which it is bordering.

“We are going home,” Anatoly Bibilov commented on Telegram messaging. “The time has come to unite once and for all”, “South Ossetia and Russia will be together. This is the beginning of a great new story”, he added.

Anatoly Bibilov failed to seek re-election as ‘president’ earlier this month and Russia expressed hope that his successor in the post, Alan Gagloyev, would ensure ‘continuity’ in relations with Moscow .

The project described as “unacceptable” by Georgia

South Ossetia was at the center of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war, following which the Kremlin recognized its independence as well as that of another Georgian breakaway region, Abkhazia, and set up bases there military.

Representatives of the separatist Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, whose independence has also been recognized by Moscow, have also expressed their interest in integrating with Russia.

The announcement of the upcoming referendum in Ossetia was made at 79and day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which sparked a wave of solidarity in Georgia. Tbilisi had already described this referendum project as “unacceptable” in the past.

In August 2008, Russia attacked Georgia whose government was fighting pro-Russian militias in that region after they bombed Georgian villages.

The fighting ended after five days with the establishment of a European Union-brokered ceasefire, but left more than 700 dead and displaced tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians.

With AFP

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