The presidents of the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Ossetia have signed a treaty today which will dramatically increase their integration, merging part of the South Ossetian military into Russia’s, and increasing economic integration.
NATO is furious, again, claiming the treaty is in violation of international law. NATO does not recognize South Ossetian independence and insists every treaty they enter is a violation.
South Ossetia was an autonomous oblast in the Georgian Soviet Republic during the Soviet era, and declared independence in 1990 when the Soviet Union collapsed. Georgia has repeatedly, unsuccessfully, tried to conquer them.
The most recent war came in 2008, when Georgian forces attacked both South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers, starting the brief Russo-Georgian War, in which Georgia’s military was virtually wiped out.
After the war, Russia formally recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent republics, and they have both become heavily dependent on Russian foreign aid.