MOSCOW, September 15 (RIA Novosti) - Russia signed on Tuesday agreements on military cooperation with the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Russian defense minister's spokesman said.
Russia recognized the two republics shortly after the end of last August's war with Georgia over South Ossetia, which began when Georgian forces attacked the region in an attempt to bring it back under central control.
The documents were signed by Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his counterparts from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Merab Kishmariya and Yury Tanayev.
"In accordance with the agreements, Russia has the right to build, use and improve military infrastructure and military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and create and maintain joint military contingents [in both republics] in times of peace and war," said Alexei Kuznetsov, the defense minister's press secretary.
The agreements could be extended automatically for increments of five years after the expiration of the initial 49-year term, the spokesman added.
He said new intergovernmental agreements on military and military-technical cooperation between Russia and the two republics are in the works.
Under mutual assistance treaties signed last November, Russia pledged to help Abkhazia and South Ossetia protect their borders, and the signatories granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories.
Russian military bases are expected to be located in Gudauta, Abkhazia, and Tskhinvali, South Ossetia. Each base will most likely host up to 1,700 servicemen, T-62 tanks, light armored vehicles, S-300 air defense systems and various aircraft.
Russia earlier said it would allocate 15-16 billion rubles (over $465 million) in 2010 to boost security along Abkhazian borders.