The U.S. Department of State condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, in a press statement on August 9. State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert called upon Russia to withdraw its forces and reverse its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The full statement reads as follows:
“The United States views the visit of President Putin to the Russian occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia as inappropriate and inconsistent with the principles underlying the Geneva International Discussions, to which Russia is a party. The United States fully supports Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and rejects Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The United States urges Russia to withdraw its forces to pre-war positions per the 2008 ceasefire agreement and reverse its recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”
Putin arrived in Abkhazia on August 8, on the nine-year anniversary of the 2008 August War.
At the meeting with the de facto leader of Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba, Putin stated that “Russia will continue supporting Abkhazia on the international level. The citizens of Abkhazia, Russians, and guests should realize that they are under safe protection.”
The visit was criticized by NATO and Georgia’s Foreign Ministry.
NATO acting spokesperson Dylan White condemned Putin’s visit to Abkhazia, stating that he regrets “that this visit was carried out without prior consent of the Georgian authorities.”
In their statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia emphasized that the visit is an attempt to legitimize an occupation regime.