Caucasus-2020: Preparation for a new aggression?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a snap “combat readiness check” involving 150,000 personnel and hundreds of aircraft and naval vessels to ensure security in Russia’s southwest, where he sees a “serious threat” from terrorism.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on July 17 that the “check” had already begun and will test the readiness of Russian armed forces for the Caucasus-2020 military maneuvers scheduled for September. The southern and western military districts of Russia border Ukraine, in the east of which Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian armed forces since April, 2014.

In August 2008 Georgia fell victim to open military aggression by the Russian Federation that resulted in the illegal occupation of the Georgian regions Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. Russia’s large-scale military invasion in Georgia in blatant violation of fundamental norms and principles of international law served as a direct attack on European security and the international order. A few years later the same pattern was used against Ukraine.

Russian aggression against Georgia was premeditated and thoroughly calculated. Moscow had started preparation long before the actual war. In May-June 2008, the Kremlin started deploying railroad troops, military forces and offensive weaponry in Abkhazia region.

These developments sharply escalated the situation on the ground. In the period just before the invasion, in July 2008, Russia conducted a large-scale military exercise, ‘Caucasus-2008’, near the Georgian border.

Russian troops did not leave the area after the exercise was finished. Vladimir Putin himself did not try to hide the fact that the plan for military invasion existed about two years before the war.

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