U.S. Reacts to Russia’s Possible Annexation of S. Ossetia

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during his daily press briefing today that “neither de facto authorities [in Tskhinvali] nor the Russian government have the right to make decisions about the future of South Ossetia which is part of Georgia.”

“Just as the United States did not recognize Russia’s illegal seizure and attempted annexation of Crimea in 2014 and just as we did not recognize the Kremlin’s cynical attempt to recognize independence of the so-called DNR and LNR in Eastern Ukraine, just before it launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, we will not recognize the results of any effort by Russia or its proxies to divide sovereign Georgian territory.”

“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders,” the Department of State spokesperson noted.

Kremlin-backed Tskhinvali leader Anatoly Bibilov, soon seeking reelection, yesterday announced that his regime will take “appropriate legal steps in the near future” to ensure “unification” with Russia.

Ruling United Russia party official, Andrei Klimov promptly suggested that Tskhinvali should hold a referendum on joining Russia, after which there will be “no legal obstacles to realize the long-standing dream of the residents of South Ossetia to become a part of the Russian Federation.”

Georgia’s Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said earlier today “it is unacceptable to discuss any referendums while Georgia’s territory is occupied by Russia.”

Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region on August 26, 2008, two weeks after the end of the Russo-Georgian war. Tbilisi and most of the international community regard the two regions as part of Georgia.

As things stand, some 30 thousand ethnic Georgians remain uprooted from Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia following the armed conflict in 1991-92 and the Russo-Georgian War of 2008.

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


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