The breakaway region of South Ossetia will hold a referendum on joining Russia, AFP reported. The leader of the breakaway region has set July 17 as the date for the poll. “Anatoly Bibilov signed a decree to hold a referendum in the Republic of South Ossetia,” Bibilov’s press service said in a statement. The statement cited the “historical aspirations” of his people to join Russia. The announcement comes on the 79th day of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, with thousands killed and more than six million fleeing their homes.
The separatist regions of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, have also demanded accession to Russia. Georgia has condemned the full-scale war against Ukraine. The country called South Ossetia’s plans to hold a referendum on joining Russia “unacceptable”. In August 2008, Russia launched an attack on Georgia, which was fighting pro-Russian militias in South Ossetia after shelling Georgian villages. The fighting ended five days later with an EU-brokered truce, but at the cost of 700 lives and the resettlement of tens of thousands of ethnic Georgians.
300 soldiers from South Ossetia refused to fight in Ukraine and returned home, Ossetian blogger Alik Puhati said on April 1. About 300 servicemen (mostly ethnic Ossetians) from the Russian military base returned to South Ossetia of their own accord, saying they had been left to die in the war in Ukraine. There are no official figures on the number of troops, but the very fact of the return has been confirmed by former President Edward Kokoity. He emphasized that “no one has the right to condemn them”.
“We are all concerned about the situation around our soldiers who have returned home to Ossetia from the war zone. No one has the right to condemn these boys or accuse them of cowardice. It is necessary to understand the main reasons for what happened and to understand how their participation is organized, “he said.
Kokoity added that the authorities would “deal with the case in the most serious way” and noted that soldiers who had left the battlefield could return to Ukraine and continue to fight “if they saw fit”. At the same time, he emphasized that “the organization of their participation” must be approached “with the utmost responsibility”. “We have a duty to protect every life,” Kokoity said. He also called on all South Ossetians, especially military relatives, to “refrain from protests” to which someone allegedly “provoked” them. The Telegram channel “Eavesdropped on the police” published photos of the returned soldiers with the message that they had returned home “hitchhiking”.
Earlier, South Ossetian President Anatoly Bibilov said that troops from Russia’s 4th military base were fighting in Ukraine. “I am told that our boys are dying. No! No – they are going to win! And now we are going to Donbass, to Meriupol, to Melitopol just to defeat the enemy! ”Bibilov wrote in his Telegram profile. He clarified that it was a victory over “neo-fascists who turned Ukraine into a reserve of Nazism.” Bibilov says the “Ossetian has no choice and no other solution” than to take part in Putin’s “special operation”. “Those who are now trying to convince our people to write a report and refuse to take part in the special operation are honest and safe for the contract soldier, these people are lying. “Those who make us doubt Russia’s actions are enemies!” The South Ossetian president continued. On March 17, Bibilov published a post from the funeral of Andrei Bakaev, a soldier in the 58th Russian Army, a native of South Ossetia. Bibilov said that he “died heroically defending the people of Donbass.”
Even then, the referendum was planned to take place probably “in April-May”. According to Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin will treat the results “with respect”. At the same time, he clarified that Moscow has not yet taken legal action to include South Ossetia in Russia. In Georgia, talks on the republic’s accession to Russia were called unacceptable. They recalled that the territory was “occupied”, according to the Russian service of The Moskow Times.
Let us recall that at the end of 2019, Patriarch Kirill inspired a new scandal between Russia and Georgia. The media published a letter from the Moscow Patriarchate’s Training Commission to the rectors of higher theological institutions in Russia, which caused new tensions in relations between the Moscow and Georgian patriarchates. The letter says that by decision of Moscow Patriarch Kirill, all high school graduates who have a sacred rank can be assigned to Russian military bases outside Russia as chaplains. In return, after the end of the “business trip”, the young clergy will be enrolled in the Moscow or St. Petersburg diocese.
The following Russian military bases abroad were mentioned – “in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Kyrgyzstan and in the garrisons of the Arctic region”. The letter was signed by priest Maxim Kozlov, chairman of the Training Commission at the Ministry of Justice, Dveri recalls. On this occasion, the official website of the Georgian Patriarchate published an address by Patriarch Elijah to Patriarch Kirill, which reads: “Extremely negative impression was created by the information that you want to send high school graduates to help military commanders in Russian military units located in Abkhazia, in the region of Tskhinvali, Kyrgyzstan and the Arctic.The Russian Church has always recognized and recognizes the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church in both Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, so it is incomprehensible to us such statements that put us all in In conclusion, the Georgian Patriarch expressed hope that Father Kiril “would take measures to normalize relations between our countries, peoples and churches, if possible.” The letter also expressed concern about the arrest (“kidnapping”) of people in The Tskhinvali border area, which is already “permanent”. draws people from the border area, which has already become permanent. But this time we are even more concerned about the detention of the famous doctor Vaji Gaprindashvili in the Tskhinvali prison. This situation is causing just discontent and protests in our society, “the message said. The Georgian doctor is the president of the Georgian Association of Traumatologists and lives in Tbilisi. He was arrested by Russian forces in the area of the village of Orchosani (in South Ossetia), where he was with a patient. He was accused of “violating state borders” and sentenced by unrecognized South Ossetian authorities to two months in prison.