The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned Russia’s ratification of the treaty with Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia on establishing a Combined Group of Forces as “yet another unlawful episode of factual annexation process” that “significantly threatens the stability of the entire region.”
Russia’s State Duma ratified the treaty on November 2 with 410 votes; the breakaway region’s parliament ratified the same treaty in December 2015, a month after its signing.
Russia and breakaway Abkhazia signed the treaty in November 2015, to define the ways for putting in practice the provisions of the Framework Agreement on “Alliance and Strategic Partnership,” signed a year ago. The Framework Agreement envisags creation of the “common security and defense space”, including the “combined group of forces” for the purpose of “repelling aggression”. The group will be led by the Russian military base deployed in Abkhazia.
“The entire process vividly demonstrates that the Russian Federation pursues the policy of creeping annexation of Georgia’s occupied regions. This is in complete contravention to the established international order and undermines fundamental principles of the UN Charter and Helsinki Final Act, such as the inviolability of the internationally recognized borders and the respect of territorial integrity of a sovereign state,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
“By signing the document and ratifying it a year later, Russia once again violated the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, which is all the more disturbing, given the absence of international mechanisms in the occupied regions and the continued refusal by the Russia Federation to take the non-use of force pledge,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on November 3.
“The creation of the so-called Combined Group of Forces in Abkhazia, against the backdrop of continued military build-up and constant military drills in the occupied territories, further aggravates the already difficult security situation on the ground and significantly threatens the stability of the entire region,” the statement reads.
“The Government of Georgia will consolidate its diplomatic efforts in response to the provocative steps by the Russian Federation in all available international formats, be it bilateral relations with our partners or multilateral diplomacy, in order to ensure a proper assessment of Russia’s illegal actions and efficient measures by the international community for providing peace and security in the region,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.