Georgia's opposition calls Russian Navy base in Abkhazia an "occupation," appeals to NATO and EU
Georgia’s opposition against Russian fleet in Abkhazia
“Ongoing Russian occupation” – 50 opposition members of the Georgian parliament urgently appeal to NATO and EU member states regarding the establishment of a Russian naval base in Ochamchira Bay in Abkhazia.
The letter’s authors view Russia’s move to place its naval base in Ochamchira as “an added challenge, not just to Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, but also to the security of the broader Black Sea region and the Euro-Atlantic area.” The letter describes Russia’s decision as “an additional threat to the realization of the ‘Middle Corridor’ concept initiated by the European Union.”
The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route is an international transportation corridor originating in China. It traverses Kazakhstan, crosses the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, passes through Georgia and Turkey, and provides connectivity to European nations via the Black Sea. The imposition of Western sanctions on Russia following the Ukraine invasion has revitalized the concept of the Middle Corridor as an alternative route linking China and Europe.
The statement reads, “We urge the international community, Georgia’s allies, and strategic partners, who are the primary pillars of support for Georgia’s democracy, security, prosperity, and sustainable development, to present a unified and resolute stance against Russia’s persistent policy of occupation and annexation.”
In addition, the opposition MPs call upon the international community to utilize the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on the August 2008 war as an international legal tool to address Russian occupation and human rights violations in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
The letter’s authors underscore that the ruling Georgian Dream party declined to adopt a joint parliamentary resolution condemning the establishment of the Russian fleet in Ochamchira, making it solely the opposition appealing to Western partners.
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In early October it was revealed that a permanent Russian naval base would be established in Ochamchira. Abkhazian leader Aslan Bzhania was the first to announce this in an interview with the Russian publication Izvestia on October 5.
Bzhania stated, “This is aimed at enhancing the defense capabilities of Russia and Abkhazia, and such cooperation will continue because it serves the fundamental interests of Russia and Abkhazia, with security being of paramount importance in this regard.”
The Georgian Foreign Ministry expressed “concern” about this development and pointed out that such actions constitute a violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The opposition views the government’s response as inadequate.
In late October, Ukrainian military intelligence reported that Russia was relocating some of its warships from annexed Crimea to the occupied territory of Georgia.