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Georgia to protest officially Putin's visit to Abkhazia

© RIA NovostiGeorgia to protest officially Putin's visit to Abkhazia
Georgia to protest officially Putin's visit to Abkhazia - Sputnik International
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Georgia's Foreign Ministry is preparing a note of protest over the Russian prime minister's visit to Abkhazia, a senior Georgian diplomat said on Wednesday.

TBILISI, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia's Foreign Ministry is preparing a note of protest over the Russian prime minister's visit to Abkhazia, a senior Georgian diplomat said on Wednesday.

Vladimir Putin on Wednesday paid his first visit to Abkhazia, which Russia recognized as an independent state last August after a five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia, which Moscow also recognized as independent.

"This visit is an absolutely illegitimate violation of all international law provisions," Alexander Nalbandov, a deputy Georgian foreign minister, said, adding that a note of protest would soon be submitted to the Swiss Embassy in Georgia.

Switzerland represents Russian interests in Georgia and Georgian interests in Russia as

diplomatic ties were cut between Tbilisi and Moscow last August.

The Georgian diplomat described Putin's visit, which coincided with the first anniversary of the signing of a six-point agreement to settle last August's conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi, as "a purposeful provocation and challenge to the entire international community."

The Georgian official also accused Russia of seeking to destabilize the situation in the region and ignoring international principles and law.

"These actions are inappropriate for a country that claims to play a serious role in international affairs," Nalbandov said, adding that Russia needs Abkhazia as "a military base."

Speaking at a news conference during a brief visit to the former Georgian republic's capital, Sukhumi, Putin said that Russia saw Abkhazia as a reliable partner and vowed that if necessary Russia would come to Abkhazia's aid militarily.

However, Putin assured Abkhazian authorities that Russia would not interfere in the republic's internal affairs.

"You know that while supporting the Abkhazian people in their aspiration for sovereignty, Russia has never taken the liberty of interfering in its domestic policies," Putin said at a meeting with Abkhazian opposition leaders.

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