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South Ossetia abandons its referendum project on its integration into Russia | War in Ukraine

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In a decree, the President Alan Gagloev invoked uncertainty related to legal consequences of such a consultation, which had been decided upon by his predecessor, Anatoly Bibilov, and which was to be held on 17 July.

He also highlighted the inadmissibility of a unilateral decision by referendum on issues pertaining to the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian Federation.

Mr Gagloev nevertheless called for hold, without delay, consultations with the Russian side on all issues related to the greater integration of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation.

On May 13, the authorities of South Ossetia had announced the signing by Mr Bibilov of a decree on the holding of a referendum, evoking the historical aspiration of the inhabitants of this small Caucasian territory to join Russia, of which it is bordering.

We’re going homecommented Mr. Bibilov on Telegram messaging, adding that the time has come to unite once and for all. South Ossetia and Russia will be together. This is the beginning of a great new story.

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Anatoly Bibilov failed to get re-elected to the post of President at the beginning of the month and Russia had expressed the hope that his successor in this post, Alan Gagloev, would be able to ensure the continuity in relations with Moscow.

Independence recognized by Moscow

South Ossetia was at the center of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war, following which the Kremlin recognized its independence as well as that of another Georgian breakaway region, Abkhazia, and set up bases there military.

The announcement of President Gagloev comes on the 91st day of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine, where the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, whose independence has also been recognized by Moscow, have similarly expressed their interest in a integration into Russia.

The offensive against Ukraine has sparked an outpouring of solidarity in Georgia.

In August 2008, Russia attacked Georgia, whose government was fighting pro-Russian militias in that region, after they bombed Georgian villages.

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The fighting ended after five days with the establishment of a European Union-brokered ceasefire, but left more than 700 dead and displaced tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians.

In March, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Karim Khan, called for arrest warrants to be issued against three current and former South Ossetian officials, in connection with war crimes. committed against ethnic Georgians.

Among the crimes they are accused of are torture, illegal detention, hostage taking and deportation of people.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Russia was responsible for post-war human rights abuses.

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