European Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) Chair Anna Elzbieta Fotyga released a statement today on latest developments in Russian occupied regions of Georgia – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).
Illegal elections in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali
So-called "parliamentary elections” were held in Abkhazia on March 12 by Russia-backed de-facto leadership controlling Georgia’s region, while "presidential elections” are due to be held this Sunday, April 9 in Tskhinvali.
Fotyga expressed her deep concern towards latest developments in both Russian occupied regions.
The so-called "parliamentary elections” and "presidential elections are taking place against the background of waves of ethnic cleansing in both regions and of serious violations of human rights,” she said.
Fotyga believes "any attempt to legitimise forcibly changed demographic situation of both regions is unacceptable.”
So-called referendum on changing Tskhinvali region’s name
Fotyga also condemned the so-called referendum planned on April 9 in Tskhinvali region aimed at changing its name, which she said "is aimed to prepare ground for its illegal annexation.”
The democratic world should give an adequate assessment to this provocative attempt to gradually incorporate the region into the Russian Federation,” she added.
This February the leader of Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali region Leonid Tibilov voiced his proposal to change Tskhinvali region’s name to ‘the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania.” The second part of the name would sound just like North Ossetia-Alania, which is under Russian control.
Integration of the Tskhinvali army into the Russian Armed Forces
In her statement the SEDE Chair Fotyga also condemned "the signing of so-called agreement on incorporation of the unlawful military units of the occupied Tskhinvali region into the Russian armed forces that took place on 31 March 2017.”
This step continues a policy of annexation that began with signing of so-called treaties of strategic alliance between Russia and its occupation regimes,” she said.
Fotyga believes the European Union "should make it clear that by these provocative actions Russia is seriously harming the Geneva International Discussions, intentionally obstructing any potential progress in the peace process and continuing to refuse to commit to the non-use of force in the region and to comply with the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.”
Since the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, the Geneva International Discussions have been the only format of dialogue between Georgia and Russia.
It is chaired by the OSCE, the EU and the UN. Representatives from Tbilisi, Tskhinvali and Sukhumi, as well as Moscow and Washington have taken part in the discussions.