Putin pokes Georgia in the eye with Abkhazia visit on war anniversary

Putin vows continued Russian support for Georgia's rebel Abkhazia

Acting NATO spokesperson Dylan White called Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Abkhazia "detrimental to worldwide efforts to find a peaceful and negotiated settlement".

Earlier in the day, Putin arrived in Abkhazia where he met with Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba.

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"President Putin's visit to the Abkhazia region of Georgia - on the ninth anniversary of the armed conflict - is detrimental to global efforts to find a peaceful and negotiated settlement", the spokesman, Dylan White, said in a statement. We safeguard the security and independence of Abkhazia.

Abkhazia, alongside South Ossetia is one of two regions that are internationally recognized as Georgian but, due to Russia's military and economic support, exist in de facto independence. Only a few countries followed Russia's lead.

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"The United States fully supports Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and rejects Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia", Nauert continued. Russian Federation has moved to effectively incorporate the regions in its own military command, which Georgia considers another step in an ongoing occupation of its territory. "I am confident this will continue into the future", Putin said. Representative of Russias State Duma Konstantin Zatulin said Putins visit is connected with the tense situation in Abkhazia and the United States Vice President Mike Pences recent trip to Georgia. After paying tribute to soldiers who fell in the conflict, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili told journalists that the Georgian government is "building a united, strong, prosperous, democratic, truly European Georgia in order to make it a common home for Georgians, Abkhaz, and [South] Ossetians", RFE/RL reported.

Putin's visit was seen as supporting Abkhazian separatists, which global agreements classify as a violation of Georgia's sovereignty, the Hill reports.

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