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US condemns Russia's pressure on Georgian territories
The U.S. has officially condemned Russia's anew increasing pressure on the occupied territories in Georgia. According to a press statement from the Department of State, “the United States’ position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is unwavering: The United States fully supports Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

Russia's actions violate Geneva talks

The statement was released ensuing Russia's recent integration of de-facto military forces from South Ossetia / Tskhinvali into the Russian army. The U.S. will not recognize “this so-called ‘treaty’” since “it does not constitute an internationally valid agreement”, says the U.S. Department of State.

The U.S. government sees Russia's increasing pressure on occupied Georgian territory as a further violation of the fundamental principles of the Geneva International Discussions. It called on Russia to respect the Georgian borders that existed before the August War in 2008 and to reverse the recognition of independence of the Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia / Tskhinvali.

Unanimous criticism of Russia from U.S. and Georgia

Last week, Georgia itself had sharply criticized Russia's actions. The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the integration of the South Ossetian de-facto forces into the Russian army “another illegal measure of the Russian Federation”.

Increased pressure also in Abkhazia

The pressure of Russia is also increasing in the occupied region of Abkhazia. According to recent regulations, residents of the region are to renounce their Georgian citizenship in order to receive an Abkhazian passport instead.

Resident, who are not committed to “Abkhazian citizenship” regularly experience disadvantages and, increasingly, humiliation and open harassment on a daily basis.

An Abkhazian passport, currently costing about € 1,450.00, would bring at least a certain degree of freedom. A previous regulation, according to which it was theoretically possible to deny Georgian citizenship with a mere statement (without actually revoking it) is now to be replaced by the new rule, requesting official renouncement of Georgian citizenship.

Russia also aspires economic integration of occupied territories

Parallel to the military integration of the Georgian territories occupied by Russia, Moscow is also taking measures to promote the economic integration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia / Tskhinvali. While the import of meat and dairy products from Georgia into the occupied Georgian territories had been banned, customs stations have now been established.

The facilities located in Akhalgori (South Ossetia) and Sokhumi (Abkhazia) are intended to simplify the trade between Russia and the occupied territories, and to ensure their inclusion in the Russian economic sphere in the meantime.

In a further statement, the Georgian Foreign Ministry condemns these measures, as they are contrary to the Georgian efforts to solve the conflict peacefully and to provide for the welfare of the population in the occupied territories. The Georgian government urges Russia to cease the persistent and mounting provocations, reduce the occupation of Georgia, and engage in a peaceful conflict resolution in accordance with international law.

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