MOSCOW, December 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified free trade agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, according to documents posted in an official database of regulatory and legal acts.
The deals were signed in 2012. Sugar, alcohol and tobacco from the Georgian breakaway republics are not included in the free trade regime.
Russia and Georgia severed diplomatic ties in 2008 after fighting a brief war in August over Georgia’s de-facto independent republic of South Ossetia. Moscow subsequently recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, and provides them with economic and military support.
Their independence has been recognized by a handful of other countries, but most countries continue to consider South Ossetia and Abkhazia part of Georgia.
New Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who won a crushing victory in the October election, promised willingness to normalize relations with Russia during his inauguration speech in November, noting that the task would require Georgia’s northern neighbor to respect its sovereign and territorial integrity.