Russia “cannot resist” South Ossetia holding an accession referendum later this year, but no plans are being made from the Russian side, President Vladimir said Putin on Thursday.
"We do not consider our relations with South Ossetia in such context," he told journalists in Moscow.
Earlier this week, South Ossetian president Leonid Tibilov told TASS news agency that the breakaway republic was planning a referendum “before August”.
Russia recognised South Ossetia, along with Abkhazia, following a war with Georgia over the territories in August 2008.
Tiboliv has repeatedly stated his desire for South Ossetia's full integration with Russia.The referendum would ask whether Ossetians would like to amend Article 10 of the constitution, which would let it appeal to the Russian leadership for accession.
“I am absolutely sure that the people will say ‘yes’,” Tibilov said on Sunday.
“Nothing, but the interests of the South Ossetian people, restrains us,” Putin said. “But we do not yet know what will serve as a basis for this referendum, what the final formulation of question will be. Depending on these [factors] we will further think and then decide.”
SOURCE: commonspace.eu and agencies
PHOTO: Vladimir Putin