Troops from Kremlin-backed Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia are debuting in Russian-led International Army Games and the “Army-2020” military forum.
The International Army Games is an annual military sports event hosted by the Russian Defense Ministry since 2015, which this year is taking place between August 23 to September 5 in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Russia, with a large part of competitions held in the latter. On its part, the “Army-2020” forum is held from 23 to 29 August near Moscow.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said while hosting the opening ceremony of the events that the military forum is “the largest exhibition of armament worldwide,” which this year is attended by 90 delegations.
Shoygu Meets Abkhazia’s Anua
At the sidelines of the event, the Russian Defense Minister discussed issues of military cooperation with Vladimir Anua, occupied Abkhazia’s defense minister.
Shoygu called Abkhazia an “ally and strategic partner in Southern Caucasus” and spoke about the plans to form a common defense space with Abkhazia, including building a joint military base on the occupied territory.
He said reportedly that the Russian side intends to further develop legal ties with Abkhazia in the field of defense, to build up military and military-technical cooperation, and to put existing bilateral agreements into practice.
The Russian Defense Minister added that a part of activities previously planned in frames of inter-ministerial cooperation had to be canceled due to coronavirus pandemic, saying that the plans now need to be adjusted.
Abkhaz leader Aslan Bzhania said, “participation of Abkhazia in the army games in which military personnel from 90 states are taking part serves to strengthen international ties” of the region.