Moscow looks to expand military foothold in occupied Georgia with Black Sea Fleet presence
Territories of Georgia occupied by Russia (Map - Caucasus Watch)

Russia intends to create a Black Sea Fleet base in Abkhazia, on the territory of Georgia temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation, the so-called "leader" of Abkhazia Aslan Bzhania has announced, The Guardian reports.

A military base of the Russian fleet will be established on the coast of Abkhazia, Bzhania said.

"We have signed an agreement, and in the near future a permanent base of the Russian Navy will appear in the Ochamchire district," he said.

Abkhazia was occupied by Russia as a result of the hybrid war against Georgia in 1992-1994 and since then has been controlled by the Kremlin through puppet governments. Russia recognized the "independence" of Abkhazia after Moscow's direct military invasion of Georgia in 2008. Economically and politically, Abkhazia is completely dependent on Russia. Georgia considers Abkhazia to be part of its territory occupied by Russia.

The decision to create a base for the Russian fleet in Abkhazia may be related to the fact that the temporarily occupied Sevastopol is no longer a safe harbor for Russian ships, and the redeployment of the fleet to Novorossiysk may lead to the fact that this port will not be able to work as a channel for sea exports of Russian oil.

One of the leaders of the Georgian opposition, Nino Burjanadze, previously stated that Ukraine's victory over Russia could contribute to the return of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, temporarily occupied by Moscow, under the control of Tbilisi.

On September 13, a large landing ship and a submarine of the Russian Navy were damaged as a result of a night attack on a ship repair plant in Sevastopol.

On September 22, explosions rang out in Sevastopol at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation.