July 31 – August 13
Western Voices – Pence reassures Georgians in Tbilisi: The U.S. Vice President had lots of supportive words for Georgia during his visit to the country. Telling his hosts “we are with you, we stand with you,” Pence condemned the Russian occupation of Georgia’s territories and dubbed the country America’s “key strategic partner.” American VP also expressed strong support for Georgia’s NATO membership bid.
Western Voices – Georgia and occupation included in the U.S. law on sanctions against Russia: Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, adopted almost unanimously by the Congress, hits Russia with sanctions, and has some space dedicated to Georgia’s issues. The Act speaks of “illegal occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” as well as of Russia ignoring the terms of the ceasefire agreement that ended the Russo-Georgian War in August 2008.
Georgian Perspective – MFA issues war anniversary statement: Georgian Foreign Ministry made a statement on August 7, the ninth anniversary of the start of the Russo-Georgian War of 2008, saying that Russia “Russia still does not fulfill the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement and continues the policy of occupation.”
Georgian Perspective – State Minister comments on discrimination: Georgian State Minister for Reconciliation Ketevan Tsikhelashvili was busy making comments on various instances of discrimination against ethnic Georgians in both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia. Right after expressing outrage regarding abolishment of the last Georgian schools in Tskhinvali Region, she had to express outrage concerning pressure on the Gali District Georgians to change their identity and family names into the Abkhaz ones.
On the Line – Georgian MFA protests new barbed wires: New spiky fences were installed by the Russians on Abkhazia line of control, near villages Khurcha and Shamgona of Zugdidi Municipality. Georgian Foreign Ministry reacted with a protest, saying that “the process of installation of barbed wires along the occupation line represents part of Russia’s deliberate policy to isolate the population living in occupied Abkhazia.”
Russia’s Network – Putin goes to Abkhazia: The Russian President talked to the Russian-backed Sokhumi leader Raul Khajimba in the seaside resort of Bichvinta, discussing defense and security integration extensively, and pledging continuation of Russia’s presence in the region. Tbilisi, U.S. State Department, and the European Union’s Delegation to Georgia all expressed protest regarding Putin’s visit.
Russia’s Network – Surkov sends a letter to Tskhinvali: Putin’s point man for all kinds of the Russian-occupied territories Vladislav Surkov wrote a letter to the Moscow-backed Tskhinvali leader Anatoly Bibilov, expressing “sincere condolences” due to the “anniversary of the armed aggression of Georgia against the Republic of South Ossetia.”
Sokhumi Happenings – Blast on the beach: Huge explosion took place at the Abkhaz “defense ministry” armaments warehouse, situated near the beach in Gudauta District. Two Russian tourists died as a result, with dozens more injured.
The Military Aspect – One-month exercises conclude: Russian troops of the mechanized brigade-sized military base in Abkhazia completed their one-month exercises, conducted at the firing grounds within the region.
The Military Aspect – New recruits arrive in Abkhazia: About 1 500 new Russian soldiers have been sent to Moscow’s military base in Abkhazia in the process of rotation of the draftees.