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Putin and Russia’s territorial ambitions

  • July 05, 2022

But despite the international outcry, Russia formally incorporated Crimea as two Russian federal subjects, the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol, two days later. 

South Ossetia 

South Ossetia, officially part of Georgia, has been a “source of tension” since the break-up of the Soviet Union, and was the site of a short war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, said the BBC

Separatist sentiment “burgeoned” in South Ossetia under nationalist leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who came to power in the dying days of the Soviet Union. After several outbreaks of violence, the region declared its intention to secede from Georgia in 1990 and declared independence in 1992.

There was sporadic violence in the region between Georgian and Ossetian fighters until the summer of 1992, “when agreement on the deployment of Georgian, Ossetian and Russian peacekeepers was reached”, the BBC explained. 

President Mikheil Saakashvili became Georgian president in 2004 and immediately made clear “his intention to bring South Ossetia and another breakaway region Abkhazia to heel”. He offered them autonomy, which was rejected in a 2006 referendum. 

In August 2008, after a week of clashes between Georgian troops and separatist forces, Georgia “launched a concerted air and ground assault attack” on South Ossetia’s main city, Tskhinvali. Russian forces then entered South Ossetia, driving back the Georgian military and briefly entering Georgia itself. 

During the five-day conflict, nearly 850 people were killed and some 35,000 Georgians were left homeless, according to an official EU fact-finding report.

Transnistria 

Transnistria, also commonly known as Transdniester, is a narrow strip of land between the east bank of the Dniester River and Moldova’s border with Ukraine.

It has a population of about 470,000 people, with “ethnic Russians and Ukrainians together” outnumbering ethnic Moldovans in the area, said Al Jazeera

While it is internationally recognised as part of Moldova, the Russian-backed breakaway territory has been under the control of separatist authorities since 1992. The collapse of the Soviet Union triggered a conflict between the newly independent Republic of Moldova and separatists who wanted to maintain Soviet ties.

No country recognises the region as independent, including Russia, but “Moldovan authorities have no control over the region, which functions akin to a separate state”, said the broadcaster.

The Moldovan government has recently said it is doing everything possible to prevent the unrecognised territory from threatening Ukraine. 

During a press conference late last month between Moldovan President Maia Sandu and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Sandu said: “We are closely monitoring all events in Transnistria and do not see any threats. We are doing everything we can to prevent this separatist region from posing a threat to Ukraine and Moldova.

“Ukraine and Moldova should maintain regular dialogue on security issues that affect our states. We agreed to work together to maintain stability and avoid provocations aimed at destabilising the situation.”

Article source: https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/957260/russias-territorial-disputes

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