Belarus: Only Travel Via Georgia To Abkhazia And South Ossetia

In a move indicative of Minsk's growing coolness toward Moscow, Belarus warned its citizens on July 22 that they may enter the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia only via Georgia.

"Entering Abkhazia and South Ossetia from another destination and without permission from the Georgian authorities is punishable by law," Alexander Lukashevich, deputy head of the Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs consular section was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

Minsk has been under double pressure from Russia and the European Union, with Moscow pushing its small neighbor to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Brussels says such a move would jeopardize ties between Belarus and the EU.

Defying pressure from Russia, Minsk has indicated that is does not intend to recognize the independence of Moscow's two protectorates anytime soon.

In early June, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that he will not trade recognition of the two regions for Russian financial support.



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