Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two partially recognized breakaway republics in North Caucasus, claiming independence from Georgia. The only military force present in the 2 regions is the Russian military, making them indirectly Russian-occupied territories.
The 2 provinces are recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru and Tuvalu. Georgia and all other nations do not recognize their independence and officially consider them sovereign territory of the Georgian state.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 (which controlled both North and South Caucasus), Georgia – together with Armenia and Azerbaijan – declared independence from Russia.
CNN detailed report on the Russia – Georgia issue How Russia prepared and executed ethnic cleansing of Georgians
South Ossetians, backed by Russian military, fought to separate from Georgia in the 1991-1992 South Ossetian war. The war ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire on 24 June 1992, which established a joint peacekeeping force with Russian, Georgian and South-Ossetian military presence in the area. Russia officially recognized South Ossetia’s independence from Georgia, despite international accusations of violations of Georgia’s territory integrity.
The 2008 South Ossetian war erupted following unclear reports of clashes between Russian and Georgian peacekeeping forces. As a result, Georgian peacekeeping forces were eventually pushed out of South Ossetia, the joint peacekeeping forces of Russia, Georgia and South-Ossetia were disintegrated and South Ossetia remained under complete Russian defacto control.
During the conflict, Russian forces had also entered Georgian territory occupying 3 cities, and bombarded the city of Gori (situated outside South Ossetian territory); under international pressure and criticism, they pulled back to South Ossetia.
Read the story below this picture HERE
The following video shows an example of Russian media manipulation using footage and pictures of the Gori attack by Russian airforces (the erroneous info was later used by a major German news channel as well).
In 1989, Abkhazia had a population of 525.000. people – with 48% Georgians, 17% Abkhazians and other minorities (Russians, Armenians, Greeks).
In 1991, Abkhazians, backed by Russian military forces, fought to separate Abkhazia from Georgia in the 1991-1994 war – when up to 15.000 Georgians were “ethnically cleansed” and 200.000-250.000 were displaced. Armenians, Greeks, Russians and moderate Abkhaz were also killed. Along Russian troops, there were also thousands of volunteer paramilitaries, mainly Chechens and Cossacks from the militarized Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus, among whom were highly publicized figures such as Ruslan Gelayev and Shamil Basayev.
The ethnic cleansing and massacre of Georgians has been officially recognized by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
In 1994, an internationally recognized Moscow Agreement was signed to agree on cease fire, and on the creation of a security zone with international peacekeeping forces, using the assistance of the United Nations.
After the 2008 South Ossetian war, the 1994 cease fire agreement was annulled, and the United Nations and CIS missions in the region were terminated. In 2008, Georgia passed a resolution declaring Abkhazia a Russian-occupied territory.
After the end of the conflict, Russia started developing road construction projects to connect Russia’s North Caucasus republics to Abkhazia. Further plans to include Abkhazia in the Russian tourism circuit are being developed.
Recently, Russia – the supposedly neutral part in this conflict, started demanding parts of the Abkhazian territory Russo-Abkhazian border dispute
Footage showing displaced ethnic Georgians fleeing the war ; they walked by foot all the way to the Georgian border, as ships and planes came under hostile fire.
Many died on the way to the border due to lack of food, medical care and transportation.