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South Ossetia retains its army — president

Some South Ossetian army units will be integrated into Russian forces
South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS
South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

TSKHINVAL, April 4. /TASS/. South Ossetia, a partially recognized Georgia’s breakaway region, will retain its army, while part of its military will serve in the Russian Armed Forces at the Russian base stationed in the republic, as stipulated in additional agreements to an alliance treaty, South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov said on Monday.

"Transfer of some units of the South Ossetian Armed Forces into the Russian army is at variance with the Russian legislation, that is why additional agreements to the Treaty on Alliance and Integration between South Ossetia signed last March, will specify that some South Ossetian military will be integrated into units of the Russian Federation, notably the 4th Russian military base stationed in the republic," the president said.

Tibilov said this agreement was reached at the end of February in teamwork of the Russian and South Ossetian security services, adding that it was not yet clear how many military would go into Russian units.

In March of 2015, President Tibilov and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, meeting in Moscow, signed an alliance and integration treaty governing staged promotion of social, economic, humanitarian and foreign affairs, and defense and security cooperation between the two countries.

It envisages forming a common defense and security space between Russia and South Ossetia. Separate units of South Ossetia’s military forces will be integrated into Russia’s Armed Forces. Military aggression against one country will be considered an act of aggression directed against the other country as well.

The treaty also envisages free border crossing between Russia and South Ossetia, taking into account restrictions in place for security concerns.

The document stipulates that Moscow and Tskhinval will conduct a coordinated foreign policy. Russia will assist South Ossetia in urging more countries to recognize the republic’s independence.

The document is valid for 25 years and can be extended by 10 years.

On August 8, 2008, Georgian forces attacked the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia sent its forces into the region to protect the citizens of South Ossetia, many of whom held Russian passports, and expelled the Georgian forces. Russia then recognized the independence of Abkhazia, another breakaway region, and South Ossetia, after which Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with it.