Russia has signed a deal for a permanent naval base in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, its leader says. Georgia says the move is a “gross violation” of its sovereignty.
Aslan Bzhania told the Izvestia tabloid his Moscow-backed region would soon host a permanent naval base in the Ochamchira region.
The news of the Russian base at Ochamchira, where the Soviet Union had a naval base, could indicate that Russia is seeking alternatives to Sevastopol while expanding its military presence down the Black Sea coast towards Turkey.
Due to Ukrainian attacks, the Wall Street Journal reported that Russia had withdrawn the bulk of the fleet from its main base in Sevastopol, in annexed Crimea.
Russia recognized Abkhazia and another breakaway region, South Ossetia, as independent states in 2008 after Russian troops repelled a Georgian attempt to retake South Ossetia in a five-day war that ended on August 12, 2008.