Russia renews military support for Georgia’s occupied territories

Athens Greece - May 27 2016: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers

According to Al Jazeera, Russian President Vladimir Putin has allocated funds to support the modernisation of armed forces in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia region. The announcement came just hours after the US announced it would provide 500,000 US dollars of funding along the border of Russian occupied Georgian regions. 

Russian international news agency RIA Novosti reported that Russia is continuing to provide large scale assistance for the military development of the self-declared republic, stating that: “The volume of the investment programme to support Abkhazia for 2017-2019 amounted to about six billion rubles (93 million US dollars)”. However, an official document released by the Russian government is yet to state the specific amount that will be dedicated in the next financial installment. 

According to a previous proposal published on September 13, “the funds will partly go towards a phased unification of military command standards, material and technical support and social benefits”, reports Russia’s Kommersant news. The news agency also reported that over 45 per cent of the region’s state budget was paid for by Russian aid, and that 56 per cent of the region’s trade is with Moscow.

The Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, is set to discuss the agreement with his Abkhaz counterpart Merab Kishmaria, reports. The move will undoubtedly cause condemnation from Tbilisi and its allies, as Georgia aims to regain control of the occupied region.

The Abkhazian and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia are only recognised as independent states by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Syria. The rest of the international community has repeatedly called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the Georgian territory.