Soldiers from Georgia’s breakaway region might serve in Russian army

Russian-occupied Tskhinvali, seen from the village of Ergneti, Georgia. Photo by Nino Alavidze/, 25 Oct 2016 - 13:15, Tbilisi,Georgia

Military personnel from Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region could soon serve in the Russian Army through a new agreement between Russia and the occupied region, state Russian media.

Russian news agency TASS reported an agreement between Russia and de facto Tskhinvali allowing South Ossetian military to serve in the Russian Armed Forces was expected to be signed by the end of 2016.

We've reached an understanding on all issues with our Russian colleagues. We completed inter-departmental coordination; they are now underway in Russia. After that we will sign the agreement. We are expecting it this year," de facto Defence Minister of South Ossetia Ibragim Gasseyev told TASS today.

He added the agreement would allow South Ossetian servicemen to serve at the 4th military base of the Russian Defence Ministry stationed in the breakaway region.

It was impossible before. Young officers that graduated from military universities in Russia may serve at corresponding positions in the Russian Army. This is a career opportunity," he noted.

The agreement envisioned closer cooperation between Russian and de facto Tskhinvali military, and there were also plans to improve the infrastructure of South Ossetia's so-called armed forces.

We also propose to build military towns that ensure good conditions for our servicemen. We hope that it will all start in 2017 after signing the agreement with Russia," Gasseyev said.

South Ossetia is a breakaway region of Georgia that is backed by Russia. Russian troops are stationed in the region – something the international society refers to as Russian occupation of Georgian land.

Tbilisi and the global community do not recognise the deals that Russia makes with the de facto leadership of the breakaway region. Tbilisi believes this is a further attempt by Russia to annex the Georgian region.