’We have signed an agreement and in the near future there will be a permanent base of the Russian Navy in Ochamchira region. This is aimed at increasing the defense capabilities of both Russia and Abkhazia, and such interaction will continue. Also, there are things that I cannot discuss,’’ said the de facto president of the occupied Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, in an interview with Russian publication Izvestia.

Russia’s 7th military base and the border division of the Federal Security Service are already located in Russian-occupied Abkhazia. There are Russian military bases in Gali and in the villages near the occupation line.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, has been repeatedly targeted by Ukrainian forces since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

According to Reuters, 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 also expanding its military presence down the Black Sea coast towards Turkey.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Russia has pulled the bulk of its Black Sea fleet from its primary base in annexed Crimea in response to Ukraine's attacks.

Putin did not comment on the naval base during his meeting with Bzhania on Wednesday, but Bzhania said he wants to participate in ‘’integration processes initiated by the Russian side.’’

In 2009, when talks about placing a Russian base in Ochamchira began, the NATO military alliance expressed concern. Three states of the Black Sea coast, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, are members of NATO.

Russia recognized Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region as independent states following the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Apart from Russia, only Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria recognized the independence of Abkhazia.

Speaking on the relations with Tbilisi in an interview, Bzhania focused on cooperation in the field of energy, which, according to him, exists only around the Enguri HPP.

‘’We work together on this station. The dam is located in the territory of Georgia, and the station itself is in the territory of Abkhazia. Otherwise, apart from Geneva discussions, there is practically no communication.

We cannot agree with the notion that Abkhazia is occupied by Russia. This does not correspond to reality in any way. But it seems that it needs to be discussed, as this notion is supported by Georgia's allies - the United States and Great Britain,’’ said Bzhania.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expressed concern over the placement of the Russian naval fleet in Ochamchira. ‘’ Such actions are a gross violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and another provocative attempt to legitimize the illegal occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions. We call on the Russian Federation to respect international obligations, to fulfill the cease-fire agreement signed on August 12, 2008, through the mediation of the European Union, and to stop the illegal occupation of the indivisible regions of Georgia,’’ says the statement issued on October 5.

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