Vladimir Putin Meets Abkhaz Leader in Sochi

Russian President Vlaidmir Putin held a meeting with Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba in Sochi on November 21 to take stock of Moscow’s economic and political relations with Abkhazia.

In a brief press engagement before the meeting, Putin said relations with Sokhumi have “a special, strategic, allied character.” “Our trade turnover is growing, but at a low rate with 5% last year and 2% in the first 9-10 months,” he added.

Putin also noted that although some 300 Russian enterprises operate in Abkhazia, “that is not sufficient,” and “additional efforts need to be taken to boost the economic development.”

Khajimba, on his part, underscored the importance of defense cooperation, noting that over 94 joint activities have been carried out in 2018. “This is important for Abkhazia and is needed for demonstrating once again [how intensive] our relations [are].”

Putin and Khajimba previously met in August in Moscow, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia on August 26, 2008, two weeks after the end of the Russo-Georgian war. Syria, Venezuela, Nauru and Nicaragua are the only other nations that recognize the two regions’ independence from Georgia.

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