While most of the world expresses concern about security at the Winter Olympics, NATO is reacting angrily to Russia’s security buffer around Sochi, claiming it is in violation of international law.
Russia has set up a temporary buffer of checkpoints for the games, and they cross the border into the neighboring Republic of Abkhazia. Though the Abkhaz government is totally fine with this and is cooperating, NATO ally Georgia is mad.
That’s because Georgia claims Abkhazia doesn’t exist and is actually a breakaway part of their territory. NATO won’t recognize Abkhazia either, and termed the move a “violation of Georgian sovereignty.”
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen objected to security checkpoints, saying “the 21st century is for bridge-building, not fence-building.”
That may well be a clever slogan, but with terrorist groups openly threatening the Olympic Games Russia seems more interested in security.
As a practical matter, Abkhazia has vied for independence since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Georgia has insisted that Abkhazia belongs to them, but as a practical matter has not been able to quell secessionist efforts there, and after the brief 2008 Russo-Georgia War both they and South Ossetia have had some international recognition as independent republics.