Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko has said the decision on the annexation of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia will require considering multiple factors.
“The issue of unification will require the participation of the two sides. We will first look at how South Ossetian citizens will vote in the referendum,” noted Rudenko, who presented today dual Moscow-Tskhinvali citizenship deal for ratification to the State Duma.
“There is a whole set of factors to take into account, including the current geopolitical situation, the timeliness and expediency of the decision right today,” he said.
For now, Russia will be watching the preparations for the referendum, Russia’s Interfax news agency further cited Rudenko as saying.
Earlier today, former Deputy FM Grigory Karasin, who continues to serve as Russian interlocutor for Georgian Prime Minister’s special representative for Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said he had discussed the upcoming referendum with Tbilisi.
Karasin noted, “this is one of the topics of concern for our Georgian partners, we are following it closely.”
Outgoing South Ossetian leader, Anatoly Bibilov set July 17 as the date for the annexation referendum. Bibilov pledged to take legal steps for the cause in late March, a few days before the first round of “presidential elections.” But he lost to opposition challenger Alan Gagloev in runoffs on May 8.
Alan Gagloev, a former security officer set to replace Bibilov on May 24, has expressed general support for “joining” Russia but questioned the timing of the referendum. He also doubted Bibilov’s prior consultations with Moscow.
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