MOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin has met with his Abkhazian counterpart Alexander Ankvab, the Kremlin reported in a statement.
The meeting took place on Sunday when Putin visited the town of Pitsunda in the breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia.
“During the conversation, the leaders discussed bilateral cooperation,” the statement said.
Russia and Georgia severed diplomatic ties in 2008 after Moscow recognized the de-facto independent Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states following a brief military conflict over South Ossetia in August that year.
Moscow provides the breakaway republics with economic and military support. Their independence has been recognized by a handful of other countries as well. However, most countries do not yet recognize South Ossetia or Abkhazia as independent states, but view them as part of Georgia.
Georgia’s new government, elected in the October 2012 elections, said normalizing ties with Russia was among its top priorities. However, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said in July that Moscow and Tbilisi would hardly restore their ties by the time Russia holds the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.
Georgia has sent a note of protest to Moscow over the Russian president’s visit to Abkhazia, the country’s foreign minister has said, according to RIA Novosti news agency.
Vladimir Putin traveled to Pitsunda, a popular resort town on the Black Sea, on Sunday, August 25, as Abkhazia marked the fifth anniversary since Russia recognized its independence following a brief war with Georgia. The Kremlin said Putin met with his Abkhazian counterpart, Alexander Ankvab, to discuss bilateral collaboration.
“We condemn this [visit], as this is another infringement on Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” the Novosti-Georgia news agency quoted Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze as saying.
Russia and Georgia severed diplomatic ties in 2008 after Moscow recognized the de-facto independent Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states following a five-day military conflict over South Ossetia in August that year.
Only Venezuela, Nicaragua, Vanuatu, Nauru and Tuvalu followed suit by recognizing the provinces’ independence.