Geórgia, a renovada linha da frente da guerra na Ucrânia.
Last week, Russia completed its latest land-grab in Georgia. Having interfered in, and, ultimately, illegally occupied, the province of South Ossetia since the early 1990s, Russia has gradually consolidated its position, erecting barbed-wire fencing and expensive CCTV equipment to supervise its area of control.
The most recent operation has pushed the so-called “Republic of South Ossetia” a further 300 metres (980 feet) into Georgia, splitting farms in half and bringing a kilometre-long portion of BP’s Baku-Supsa pipeline, which carries oil from Azerbaijan to the Black Sea, under Russia’s control.
Georgia’s main east-west highway is now only 950 metres from an area now securitised by the Russian army.
The strategic value to Russia of the country having such a strong hold on energy flows from the Caspian to the Black Sea, as well as holding a key vantage point over Georgia’s east to west traffic flows and troop movements, is clear for all to see.
What’s less clear, however, is why the European Union and the United States have been so muted in recent months.
Russia has not been shy in signposting its intentions. Indeed, their latest territorial incursion follows an agreement signed in March between Vladimir Putin and the breakaway region’s President Leonid Tibilov aimed at further assimilating South Ossetia into the Russian Federation and harmonising defence and economic policy between the two.
With Russia on the verge of orchestrating a Crimea-style annexation of South Ossetia, the expansion of territory makes a lot of sense to Moscow.
Leitura complementar, If Europe is from Venus, then Russia is from Mars.