Putin names condition for withdrawal of Russian troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Before the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) summit in Yerevan, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked a question about Russia's obligations with regards to Georgia and Abkhazia. A journalist of the Georgian TV channel Rustavi-2 asked Putin when he intends to start fulfilling the commitments made in 2008. Putin replied: "We always fulfill them."
The journalist then asked when the Russian troops are expected to be withdrawn from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, calling them "occupied territories of Georgia." "When we decide so," Putin replied.
The EAEU summit began in Yerevan on Tuesday. The session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council was attended by representatives of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, as well as participants from Moldova, Iran, and Singapore.
Tbilisi severed diplomatic relations with Moscow in August 2008 after Russia recognized the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia - the two autonomous regions that were part of Georgia and sought independence from it even before the collapse of the USSR. The European Union also does not recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, declaring support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.
The legal status of South Ossetia as an independent republic was recognized by only five states - Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Tuvalu.
In March 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of the unrecognized South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, signed an agreement on cooperation and integration. In March 2017, the Russian government approved an agreement on the inclusion of the military of South Ossetia in the Russian army.
The President of South Ossetia Anatoly Bibilov said last year that the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Republic is out of the question. "Today Russia is the guarantor of the security of the Republic of South Ossetia," said Bibilov.