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South Ossetia to secede: Russian media


A symbolic fire is lit in 2015 inaugurating Russia's gas pipeline to South Ossetia

South Ossetia's leader Anatoly Bibilov says the territory plans to become officially part of Russia.


The leader of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia says the territory will take steps in the near future to become part of Russia, which recognised the territory and the coastal region of Abkhazia as independent after fighting a war with Georgia in 2008.

 

Russia has provided South Ossetians with extensive financial support, offered Russian citizenship to their populations and stationed thousands of troops there. Anatoly Bibilov, was quoted as saying by the press service of the United Russia party:

"I believe that unification with Russia is our strategic goal, our path, the aspiration of the people.
"We will take the relevant legal steps in the near future. The republic of South Ossetia will be part of its historical homeland - Russia."

As in the Russian-speaking Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, Russia has used recognition of the breakaway regions and the awarding of citizenships to maintain an armed presence in an area of the former Soviet Union that it sees as part of its natural sphere of influence.


In Ukraine, Russia's long-standing support for armed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk gave it a platform to launch a large-scale military incursion on February 24, one of whose stated aims is to "liberate" the entire, wider Donbass region from Ukrainian control.


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