Moscow Says Suspension of Tskhinvali Referendum “Sensible”

Russian Foreign Ministry (MID) spokesperson Maria Zakharova has said that occupied Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia leader Alan Gagloev’s decision to suspend the referendum on “unification” with Russia was “sensible.”

The MID spokesperson argued in a May 31 briefing that the suspension is “in line with the spirit of alliance” of Tskhinvali and Moscow and “the principle of close bilateral coordination” on issues important to both sides.

She asserted that Gagloev’s predecessor, Anatoly Bibilov, had called the referendum “without agreeing” the initiative with Moscow beforehand.

Holding such a referendum “requires thorough analysis and discussion between the parties,” the MID spokesperson argued, going on to express Moscow’s readiness to hold consultations with Tskhinvali on the “ways to further integrate” the occupied region with Russia.

Gagloev issued a decree late on May 30 to halt the forthcoming referendum, slated for July 17. His predecessor Bibilov formally ordered the vote by the time he had already been voted out of office in the “presidential runoffs” of May.

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