Russia appears to be taking Georgia’s land inch by inch

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A Georgian villager behind barbed wire installed by Russian troops along the South Ossetia-Georgia contact line.
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Wikimedia Commons

Russia has been slowly taking land from neighboring Georgia for years, and Moscow appears to have done it again in early July, moving its borders about 2,300 feet into the former satellite state, according to Yahoo News UK.

On July 3, Russia troops simply picked up a border sign and moved it farther into Georgian territory, Yahoo reported.

Georgia’s security agency said the land grab was “illegal,” according to The Independent.

“This is a continuation of the illegal process of the so-called borderization, which not only violates the fundamental rights of local residents but directly damages the security situation,” the Georgian security agency said in a statement.

Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and shortly thereafter recognized two parts of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, as independent states. But most of the world still views these territories as part of Georgia.

Russia started using these “borderization” tactics in June 2008 when it set up a “military demarcation line” between Abkhazia and Georgia. The latest move came just days before a meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany.

Abkhazia has claimed independence from Georgia since an armed conflict in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union

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Abkhazia has claimed independence from Georgia since an armed conflict in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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© AFP/File Viktor Drachev

Borderization, also known as “creeping,” usually involves Russian troops setting up barbed-wire fences, signs, or other obstacles to occupy Georgian land in small enough increments that Georgia and the West do nothing more than verbally condemn the action.

The ongoing expansion appears to have intimidated Georgia, which “apparently bought into Moscow’s logic that Georgia would be blamed for “provocation and escalation,” Vladimir Socor, an analyst for the Jamestown Foundation, wrote in 2013.

Over the last nine years, these creeping tactics have split up villages and farms, as did the move in early July, which the Georgian government said affected local farmers.

A spokeswoman for Georgian embassy in Washington told Business Insider it’s too difficult to estimate how much land Russia has seized since 2008 but that Moscow’s main goal in such seizures is to stymie Georgia’s efforts to join the EU and NATO.

Countries seeking to join NATO cannot have any outstanding territorial disputes.