The Russian army will set up a naval base in Abkhazia, a pro-Russian separatist region of Georgia. orgy, announced Thursday the leader of this territory at the time whenù Ukraine intensifies its attacks against the Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea.
“We have signed an agreement and, in the near future, the Russian military navy will have a permanent anchor point in the Ochamchire district” on the Black Sea coast, Aslan Bjania told the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
The Kremlin spokesperson declined to comment. “I absolutely cannot comment,” said Dmitri Peskov.
Georgia, however, condemned this announcement, which it sees as a “blatant violation” of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.< /p>
This is a “new provocation aimed at legitimizing the illegal occupation of Abkhazia”, declared its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saying it was “concerned”.
Moscow and Georgia maintain relations complex relationships. A short but bloody war opposed them in 2008, against a backdrop of tensions linked to the Georgian desire to get closer to the West.
The current Georgian government, which denies being pro-Russian, has nevertheless adopted a more flexible position towards Russia, while the opposition accuses it of wanting a rapprochement with the Kremlin, fueling a political crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, October 4, 2023 in Moscow © POOL – Mikhail Metzel
At the end of the 2008 war, Moscow recognized the independence of two separatist territories in the north of the country, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and has since maintained a military presence there.
Aslan Bjania, who was due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin this week, said the aim of the deal was to improve the defense capabilities of both Russia and Abkhazia.
“This type of cooperation will continue,” he told the Izvestia newspaper.
The opening date of this base was not indicated, but the administration of the Ochamtchiré district informed the Russian agency Ria Novosti that the port infrastructure was already “ready” to welcome it. /p>
– Strikes in Crimea –
The announcement comes as for weeks, Ukraine has increased attacks against Russian installations in Crimea, a strategic peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014 and where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based.
Satellite image released on September 23, 2023 by Planet Labs PBC showing an aerial view of the city of Sevastopol after a missile attack on the headquarters of the Moscow Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, on September 22, 2023 © ; Planet Labs PBC – Handout
Kiev claimed responsibility in particular for the destruction of anti-aircraft defense systems, a shipyard and two ships located there.
At the end of September, Kiev carried out a spectacular strike against the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet, in the city of Sevastopol, claiming to have killed around thirty officers there.
Russia, which does not give almost never information on its military losses, had for its part communicated a report of a person missing in the wake of the bombing.
Crimea is at the heart of the Russian military posture for its assault on Ukraine, both to supply the troops occupying the Ukrainian south and to carry out missile strikes from the sea.
The Ukrainian armed forces want to both disrupt the Russian supply chain and end Russia's military stranglehold on the Black Sea.
According to independent Russian media The Bell, a significant part of the Russian Black Sea Fleet even left its base in Sevastopol, because of the threat of Ukrainian bombing.
The site, classified as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities, is based on satellite images shared by pro-Kremlin Telegram channels.
A ship carrying wheat leaves the port of Chornomorsk, in the Odessa region, in the Black Sea, to Turkey, September 19, 2023 © AFP – STRINGER
The Black Sea also represents a key issue for Ukrainian grain exports, the country being one of the world's major producers.
Russia withdrew in July from an agreement which allowed their export and threatened ships sailing in the Black Sea by bombing Ukrainian ports.
But Kiev has nevertheless set up a maritime corridor and cargo ships loaded with wheat or other foodstuffs now circulate via its ports.
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