The Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the decision to hold the referendum in the Tskhinvali Region

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia condemns the decision by the Russian occupation regime to hold the referendum on changing the name of Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia on 9 April, 2017.

The Russian occupation forces intend to name one of the oldest regions of Georgia as “the republic of South Ossetia – the state of Alania”, similarly to the Republic of North Ossetia – Alania, in order to lay a ground for illegal annexation of the occupied region. As early as 2008, after the military intervention in the Georgian territory, the Russian Federation recognized the so-called independence of Tskhinvali region in violation of the fundamental norms of international law, whereupon it pursues the factual annexation of the occupied territory. By naming Georgia’s occupied region after the subject of the Russian Federation Moscow starts to use the remaining instruments against the Georgian statehood.

Holding a referendum in the occupied territories of Georgia, while the ethnic Georgian population have fled as a result of ethnic cleansing and the occupying power fully controls the situation on the ground, is illegal and cannot have any legal effect, irrespective of the outcomes. This is yet another act of aggression by the Russian Federation fully neglecting the fundamental principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of a sovereign state and is aimed at undermining the established international order.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to demonstrate consistent and firm stance towards the illegal actions of the Russian Federation, take the appropriate measures to avoid the escalation of situation in the Tskhinvali region and to prevent another fact of illegal annexation in Europe.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also calls upon the Russian Federation to cease the provocative policy towards Georgia, respect the fundamental principles of the international law and to withdraw its military forces from the territory of Georgia in accordance to the commitments under the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.