South Ossetia: the secessionist region of Georgia is considering a referendum on annexation to Russia

The president prepares a referendum
South Ossetia plans to join Russia

In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea after an unrecognized referendum. The annexation of South Ossetia could proceed in the same way. There, newly elected President Gagloyev is considering a referendum if there is a corresponding signal from the Kremlin.

In Georgia, the new president of the separatist region of South Ossetia is considering a referendum on union with Russia, but first wants to wait for a signal from Moscow. Before such a referendum is held, Russia must be on board, the winner of the weekend’s elections, Alan Glagoev, told Russian news agency TASS.

After a brief war against Georgia in 2008, Russia recognized South Ossetia and the coastal region of Abkhazia as independent. The leaders of Moscow had thus created a precedent in their relations with Ukraine. A referendum in South Ossetia could now follow the Ukrainian model, where Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 after an internationally unrecognized referendum.

“It’s not a one-sided process,” Glageov said, according to TASS news agency, referring to Russia. “We have to understand our strategic partner. As soon as there is a signal, as soon as there is an agreement that the time has come, we will definitely organize this referendum.” The Georgian government calls such a referendum unacceptable. Russia already provides financial support to South Ossetia and the coastal region of Abkhazia, and has deployed thousands of troops there. The population was offered Russian citizenship.

Russia has also for years supported pro-Russian separatists in Donbass, eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the separatist-controlled regions of Lugansk and Donetsk as independent on February 21, and three days later the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Since then, the Russian army has taken control of parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. In the south, he wants to create a connection with Transnistria – a narrow strip of the Republic of Moldova on the border with Ukraine. Pro-Russian Transnistria has seceded from Moldova, which Russia recognizes but not the international community.

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