Four Unrecognized Republics to Hold Exercises in S. Ossetia

MOSCOW (Interfax)–The Defense Ministries of four unrecognized republics–Abkhazia–South Ossetia–Mountainous Karabagh and Transdniestria–will hold joint military exercises before the end of the year–a source in the Abkhaz Defense Ministry told Interfax on Thursday.

"Task groups from the defense ministries will hold joint training for response to armed incursions before the end of this year," the source said.

"All these republics do not rule out that the armed forces of countries to which our republics used to belong may try to restore control by force. The most apparent danger exists for South Ossetia and Abkhazia," he said.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia are legally provinces of Georgia–but conflicts in the 1990s led to their de facto independence. Azerbaijan lost control of Mountainous Karabagh–and Moldova lost control of Transdniestria at approximately the same time. All of these unrecognized republics are seeking international recognition–while Tbilisi–Baku–and Chisinau are stepping up efforts to restore control over their breakaway provinces.

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