MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. Former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia celebrate the 10th anniversary of the recognition of their independence by Russia on Sunday.
Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on August 26, 2008, after the armed attack of Georgia on South Ossetia overnight into August 8. Russia then defended the republic’s citizens, many of whom had received Russian citizenship by this time, and its peacemakers, who had been working in the region since 1992. More than a thousand people, including 72 Russian servicemen, were killed in the armed conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with South Ossetian leader Anatoly Bibilov and his Abkhazian counterpart Raul Khadzhimba in Moscow on Friday, in the run-up to the anniversary.
In South Ossetia, more than 2,000 residents will take part in a theatrical performance, headlined "South Ossetia: the story of courage," that will look into the republic’s history from the Medieval kingdom of Alania and into the present day.
More than 600 high-ranking guests will attend the celebrations, including heads of self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, Alexander Zakharchenko and Leonid Pasechnik, Syria’s ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad and parliamentary delegations from Nauru, Italy and Abkhazia.
"Among other guests are delegations of Nagorno-Karabakh, representatives of the Russian government and the presidential administrations, heads of Russia’s North Caucasus republics, Russian lawmakers and senators," South Ossetian presidential aide David Gazzati told TASS.
High-ranking guests are expected in the Abkhazian capital Sukhum as well: a source in the Abkhazian president’s administration said a number of Russian lawmakers and senators, as well as officials from South Ossetia, Transnistria and Nagorno Karabakh, will visit the celebrations.