OAN’s James Meyers
11:45 AM – Thursday, October 5, 2023
Russia has signed a deal for a new permanent naval base on the Black Sea coast of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia.
Aslan Bzhania, the leader of the occupied Moscow-backed region, said the new base will be built in the Ochamchira district, according to the Izvestiya newspaper.
“All this is aimed at increasing the level of defense capability of both Russia and Abkhazia, and this kind of cooperation will continue, because it ensures the fundamental interests of both Abkhazia and Russia, and security is above all,” he said. “There are also things I can’t talk about.”
The announcement comes after Ukraine has increased its attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, including when Kyiv struck Russia’s fleet headquarters in Crimea weeks ago.
Amid the announcement, Georgia’s foreign ministry said it would “represent a gross violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and another provocative attempt to legitimize the illegal occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia” and expressed concern over “the inclusion of the indivisible Abkhazia region of Georgia in the integration processes initiated by Russia.”
Additionally, Bzhania made the announcement on Thursday after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin the day before.
“In the near future there will be a permanent base of the Russian Navy in the Ochamchira district,” Bzhania told Izvestiya.
“This is all aimed at increasing the level of defence capability of both Russia and Abkhazia, and this kind of interaction will continue,” he said. “There are also things I can’t talk about.”
Abkhazia is one of two breakaway regions of Georgia, the other being South Ossetia, which Russia recognized both areas as independent states in 2008.
In September, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council and former President Dmitry Medvedev suggested that Russia could annex both regions, although the South Caucasus state’s foreign ministry said that Abkhazia is a “steadfast ally of the Russian Federation,” and the idea of joining Russia “is not a subject for debate.”
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is located in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
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