MOSCOW (Eurasianet)–Russia has signed a 49-year defense pact with the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The agreement is designed to enhance Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia’s defense infrastructures and cement Russia’s military presence in the two territories, the Regnum news agency reported September 15.
Under the agreements Russia will maintain 1,700-strong troop contingents in both territories, the RIA news agency reported. Russian Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov has announced that other military cooperation deals between Moscow and the two regions are imminent.
Also on September 15, Russian defense officials threatened to seize Georgian ships if they violate what Russia describes as Abkhazia’s territorial waters, the Kavkazsky Uzel news service reported.