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Russia to set up military base in Georgian breakaway republic
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-04-08 07:31

Russia and Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia will jointly set up a permanent military base within the latter's territory, said Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov Wednesday.

Serdyukov signed a relevant agreement here with the defense chief of the republic Yury Tanayev.

"From now on, the status of our military base is changing. With the signing of this agreement, Russia assumes full responsibility for the protection of South Ossetia," Serdyukov told reporters at a press conference after the signing ceremony.

The deal will be valid for at least 49 years, with an automatic prolongation of 15 years.

On Feb. 17, Russia has already sealed a similar deal with another Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia, allowing a military base for the station of at least 3,000 Russian servicemen for at least 49 years.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in August 2008, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia, another Georgian rebel republic, to retake the renegade region that borders Russia. In response, Moscow sent in troops to drive Georgian forces out of the region.

Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states on Aug. 26, 2008, two weeks after the conflict ended.

Georgia and the West have condemned Russia's plans for military presence in Abkhazia, which they consider sovereign Georgian land. 

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