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    S.Ossetia's leader presses to join Russia

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    The president of South Ossetia said Monday that the breakaway Georgian region would soon ask Russia's Constitutional Court to let the region become a part of Russia, and present historical documents to back its claim

    MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - The president of South Ossetia said Monday that the breakaway Georgian region would soon ask Russia's Constitutional Court to let the region become a part of Russia, and present historical documents to back its claim.

    Eduard Kokoity first raised the issue in March, when he said South Ossetia was historically a part of Russia.

    "The documents will be soon submitted with the Constitutional Court," Kokoity said.

    "We intend to file an application with the Russian Constitutional Court," Eduard Kokoity said in March. "There is a document that proves that a united Ossetia was part of the Russian Empire in 1774, whereas there are no documents to prove that the southern part of Ossetia broke away from the Russian Empire or from the Russian Federation. Why should we ask to join Russia if we never [officially] left it?"

    He added that at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 South Ossetia was not a part of Georgia.

    South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, bringing bloody conflicts to the region. Russia mediated ceasefire agreements between the sides, and Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the conflict zones ever since.

    Georgia, which is seeking to bring the regions back under its control, has accused Russia of siding with separatists and stalling the peace process. Late last year, the country's new Western-leaning government demanded that Russian troops be pulled out of the conflict zones. Russia said this could trigger a new civil war, as the breakaway regions have rejected the policy pursued by Georgia.

    Ninety-five per cent of South Ossetian residents reportedly hold Russian citizenship. The region wants to rejoin North Ossetia, although the two were separate administrative entities in the Soviet era and were separated further after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

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