- Title: Russia's Putin visits breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia
- Date: 8th August 2017
- Summary: ABKHAZIA, GEORGIA (AUGUST 8, 2017) (REUTERS) CAR DRIVING UP / RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN STEPPING OUT AND SHAKING HANDS WITH THE LEADER OF GEORGIA'S BREAKAWAY REGION OF ABKHAZIA RAUL KHADZHIMBA MEDIA VARIOUS OF PUTIN AND KHADZHIMBA SEATED FOR TALKS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT, VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "The most important thing is that we have entirely special relations with Abkhazia. We reliably guarantee the security, self-sufficiency and independence of Abkhazia. I am sure that will continue to be the case. We just need to find the most optimal ways for economic development in Abkhazia, creation of new jobs and a tax base, we will discuss all of this today." PUTIN AND KHADZHIMBA SEATED FOR TALKS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LEADER OF GEORGIA'S BREAKAWAY REGION OF ABKHAZIA, RAUL KHADZHIMBA, SAYING: "Today's date, 8th of August, is a memorable date for the Republic of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In this day the large scale operation of the Georgian army began and those decisive actions that were taken by the Russian leadership allowed the Republic of South Ossetia to survive and of course allowed the further recognition of our small states, for which we thank you." PUTIN AND KHADZHIMBA SEATED FOR TALKS
- Embargoed: 22nd August 2017 19:59
- Keywords: Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin visits breakaway region Georgian region of Abkhazia military support defiance conflict
- Location: ABKHZIA, GEORGIA
- City: ABKHZIA, GEORGIA
- Country: Georgia
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016TAQI4N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia on Tuesday (August 8) and assured it of Moscow's military support, an act of defiance to Western governments that have condemned Russia's backing for the separatists.
Abkhazia and another Georgian region, South Ossetia, threw off Tbilisi's control in fighting in the early 1990s. Putin has stepped up military, economic and political support for the separatist regions in the past few years.
Putin arrived in Abkhazia's Black Sea resort of Pitsunda a week after U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence visited Tbilisi and issued a condemnation of the Russian presence on Georgian territory.
At a meeting with Raul Khadzhimba, leader of the separatist administration, Putin said Moscow was committed to building up a joint Russian-Abkhaz military contingent to ensure the security of people in Abkhazia.
"The most important thing is that we have entirely special relations with Abkhazia," Putin said at the meeting.
"We reliably guarantee the security, self-sufficiency and independence of Abkhazia. I am sure that will continue to be the case."
Putin's visit coincided with the ninth anniversary of a flare-up in fighting in South Ossetia, which led to Russia sending in troops and also recognising both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as sovereign states. Most other countries still consider them part of Georgia.
Russia said it had to act in 2008 to defend civilians in both entities from Georgian military attacks. Western governments say Russia fomented the separatist conflicts to frustrate Georgia's drive to join NATO and the European Union.
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