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Russian Military Exercises Increase Georgian Tensions

The Huffington Post   Susan Ryan First Posted: 07/30/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:30 PM ET

Ossetia

Russian troops have been taking part in military exercises near the Georgian border, reports BBC News.

The BBC reports that the exercises are causing concern in Georgia, and due to end on the same day as President Obama arrives in Moscow for meetings with the Russian president.

The BBC correspondent in Moscow says that military experts have interpreted the activity as a message from Russia that the Caucasus remains under its influence.

Georgia became an independent state in 1991, but tensions between Russia and Georgia have been exacerbated in the post-Soviet Union years as US influence in Georgia increased.

Georgia's interest in joining both NATO and the EU has also been of concern to Moscow.

Georgian military action against separatist factions in the breakaway region of South Ossetia last summer prompted a Russian military response which pushed beyond the area of dispute and into Georgia.

Russia subsequently pulled back from much of the Georgian territory and officially recognized the independence of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia by late August 2008.

Earlier this month, South Ossetia held parliamentary elections which were deemed illegal by Georgia.



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