Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed a new defense agreement “On the Order of Inclusion of Certain Units of the Armed Forces of South Ossetia in the Russian Armed Forces,” formalizing the merger of the region’s military units into the Russian armed forces.
The March 14 Presidential ordinance authorized the Russian Defense Ministry to hold talks on the agreement with its South Ossetian counterpart and sign the document on behalf of the Russian Federation. Although the document is not finalized, the Defense Ministry was only authorized to make “minor amendments” to the draft agreement.
According to the agreement, Moscow will admit the South Ossetian army personnel for military service at the Russian military base in breakaway South Ossetia.
Moscow will recognize their mandatory military service in the armed forces of South Ossetia, as well as their military ranks, meaning that the South Ossetian army personnel will enter the Russian Army at the same rank they obtained in their armed forces and hence, be able to enjoy same benefits and salaries as Russian soldiers.
Upon recruitment, the servicemen will have to quit the South Ossetian army. The number of South Ossetian army personnel will be reduced by a corresponding number of servicemen and the figure, as well as “the tasks and the structure,” will have to be agreed with the Russian Federation.
Transition of the South Ossetian armed forces “to a new organizational-staff structure” will be completed in nine months after the document’s enforcement, once the parties “complete internal state procedures.”
The draft agreement “On the Order of Inclusion of Certain Units of the Armed Forces of South Ossetia in the Russian Armed Forces,” is part of the treaty on “the Alliance and Integration” signed between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the South Ossetian leader Leonid Tibilov on March 18, 2015 for a period of 25 years.