Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday he expects the situation in the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia to stabilize, and pledged more aid to the now self-proclaimed republic.
“The republic has plenty of economic and social problems,” Putin told South Ossetia’s newly elected president, Leonid Tibilov.
Tibilov won in the second round of controversial president elections with winning opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva disqualified from the race over alleged violations.
“Russia has been together with South Ossetia at the most trying moments in the modern history of the Ossetian people,” Putin said.
“And we will stand by [you] in times of peace, helping expedite economic and social reconstruction.”
South Ossetia was recognized by Russia as an independent state in 1998, and subsequently by a small number of other countries. It was formerly part of Georgia, which insists it is a breakaway province.