Moscow-based RBC news agency said five sources from Russia and Abkhazia informed it about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to Sokhumi, capital of Georgia’s occupied region of Abkhazia.
According to RBC, President Putin is supposed to travel to Abkhazia on August 8, coinciding with the timing of the Russo-Georgian War of 2008.
The media outlet said talks with the Russian-backed Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba are on the agenda.
The Russian authorities have not confirmed the visit at the time of the writing. According to RBC, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov did not reply to its question on the visit.
The announcement drew sharp criticism in Tbilisi.
Georgian Minister for Reconciliation Ketevan Tsikhelashvili called Putin’s coming visit “an open message from Russia that it is continuing occupation.” She said that neither Georgian state, nor society were going to accept the Russian occupation, and were supported in this by the international community.
Georgian President’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, Tengiz Pkhaladze, said that the visit was Russia’s attempt to “legitimize historical injustice,” which was a losing effort, since “non-recognition policy for the occupied territories is very strong, and we can say Georgia has really won this battle.”
Last time Putin visited the region was in August 2013.