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Canada urges Russia to allow EU monitors’ access to Abkhazia, South Ossetia

August 08, 9:50 UTC+3 OTTAWA

In 2008 Georgia attacked South Ossetia, prompting Moscow to defend civilians, many of whom held Russian citizenship

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OTTAWA, August 8. /TASS/. Canada calls on Russia to allow the European Union Monitoring Mission access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia to reach a peaceful solution to the republics’ conflict with Georgia, the country’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Russia must abide by its obligations under the Ceasefire Agreement of August 12, 2008, and the Agreement on Implementing Measures of September 8, 2008 in order to reach a peaceful and sustainable solution to this conflict. We also call on Russia to allow the European Union Monitoring Mission access to the Georgian territories in which it exercises de-facto control," the minister said.

The top Canadian diplomat recalled that Ottawa still considers Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgia’s territories "under Russian occupation." "We will continue to work with our international partners to hold Russia to account for its deplorable and unlawful behavior."

"Canada stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Georgia, in support of its sovereignty and territorial integrity," Freeland stressed.

During the Soviet time, South Ossetia was an autonomous region as part of Georgia. In late 1980s when Tbilisi proclaimed its course towards leaving the Soviet Union, South Ossetia began its fight for independence.

In September 1990, the local parliament proclaimed that a republic was established and in January 1991 the Georgian forces were deployed to the region. Under the Dagomys agreement signed in 1992, Russian peacekeepers entered South Ossetia to settle the conflict. According to various estimates, some 2,000 to 4,000 people were killed in the armed conflict that raged from November 1990 to July 1992.

Overnight to August 8, 2008, Georgia attacked South Ossetia, prompting Moscow to defend civilians, many of whom held Russian citizenship.

As a result of the five-day war, the Georgian troops were driven out of South Ossetia. The war claimed more than 1,000 lives, including those of 72 Russian servicemen. On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another former Georgian autonomous region of Abkhazia. A Russian military base was established in South Ossetia in 2009.

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