Russian President, Vladimir Putin, “shares the Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders’ concern about the possible negative consequences of Georgia’s NATO membership,” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on April 3.
The Russian MFA’s statement says that the Russian president sent a letter to the Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders in response to their letters in which they express “the concern of the Abkhaz and South Ossetian population in connection with the aggressive policy of the Georgian leadership aimed at destabilizing the situation in the conflict zones; [in connection with] militarization of Georgia, involving reinforcement of its offensive weapons.”
“In a response message, President Putin underlined that in both official statements and practical steps Russia is guided by international norms and strongly supports stability and security in the Caucasus,” the Russian MFA said. “[The message] notes that Russia can not ignore Tbilisi’s line directed towards destabilization of the situation, including through use of intimidation and force – including through appealing to non-regional states. President Putin shares the Abkhaz and South Ossetian leaders’ concern about the possible negative consequences of Georgia’s NATO membership.”
“The president of the Russian Federation stressed that Russia is far from being indifferent towards the concerns and problems of the populations of these two republics, towards Russian citizens living there. Therefore, support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia will further acquire not a declarative, but a practical character. These very considerations are the reason for Russia’s recent decision to lift a ban on carrying out trade - economic, financial, transport and other links - with Abkhazia. Russia proceeds from the fact that such a step will serve as a real contribution to the socio-economic revival of Abkhazia, and will properly be appraised by its residents.”