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State Dept Report: Russia Uses Abkhazia, Tskhinvali Conflicts to Complicate Georgia’s EU, NATO Aspirations

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Foreign Policy, an American news publication, said in its exclusive piece on July 17 that it had seen the U.S. State Department’s yearly report to Congress, according to which “Russia has continued to use the conflicts involving Abkhazia and South Ossetia to undermine the independence and stability of Georgia, limit the country’s attractiveness as a potential economic partner, and complicate its EU and NATO aspirations.”

Reportedly, the “sensitive but unclassified” document, presented to the U.S. Congress in May, also noted that “Russia has not fulfilled its obligations under the 2008 ceasefire agreement, including the withdrawal of its forces to pre-conflict positions, nor has Russia fully implemented its commitment to permit free access for humanitarian organizations in the regions it occupies.”

“For much of the past year, Russia has backed a push by the breakaway regions to physically distance themselves from Georgia, constructing fences and installing observation towers and cameras along the proclaimed borders to “to destabilize the security situation and separate Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the rest of Georgia,” which has hampered movement into the rest of the country, the State Department reported,” Foreign Policy said.

The State Department also noted, according to Foreign Policy, that new precautions for international visitors in Abkhazia are preventing U.S. personnel from traveling there and limiting access for aid organizations.

“The international assistance community has warned this policy could lead to a severe reduction in aid to Abkhazia, as international actors lose access necessary to manage and monitor their programs,” reported the State Department.

President Trump and U.S.-Russia Relations

Foreign Policy highlighted that “though Russia has long sought to distance Georgia from the European community, the news comes as U.S. President Donald Trump […] is facing increasing questions from Congress and NATO allies about his failure to condemn Russian aggression, including intelligence community reporting of Russian bounties for Taliban fighters to take out American troops in Afghanistan.”

“Some on Capitol Hill are worried that Russia could make more foreign-policy mischief ahead of the November U.S. election without a tougher line from Washington,” added Foreign Policy.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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