The consequences for a resurgent Russia’s policies undermining territorial integrity of several states in eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia have become more apparent since the annexation of Crimea last March and during the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine. Eurasia has quickly become a battleground in the conflict brewing between, on one side, the European community, the United States, and assorted allies, and on the other side, Russia. I’ve identified several regions that I’ve referred to as fracture points. Generally, fracture points are areas of geostrategically valuable territory. The areas are contested by the West and Russia. They are locations of significantly increased tension where heightened risk for war exists in eastern Europe and the Caucasus.

Russia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia

On November 24, Russia signed an agreement strengthening military and economic relations with the breakaway Georgian territory, Abkhazia. On January 23, the Russian parliament approved the treaty. The treaty had previously been approved by Abkhazia’s legislature, the People’s Assembly:

The Russian parliament Friday approved an agreement that will deepen Russia’s military and economy ties with Abkhazia, a region that was considered part of Georgia until Russia recognized it as independent in 2008. Critics of the treaty, signed in November by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abkhazian leaders, decried the agreement as tantamount to annexation.

Russia’s agreement with Abkhazia places military forces in the region under joint command, theAssociated Press reports. The two nations will also mutually guard their common border. Russia has had soldiers stationed in Abkhazia since its 2008 war with neighboring Georgia concluded. (Thomas Barrabi, The International Business Times, January 23)

The agreement between Abkhazia and Russia has exacerbated tensions between the Georgian government and Moscow in a time of upheaval within Tbilisi. This tightening of conflict in the South Caucasus is likely to continue over the next few months as Russia is now officially slated to sign a similar treaty with South Ossetia in three weeks. South Ossetia, another breakaway region of Georgia, was a location of much of the heavy fighting in the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia. On Saturday, TASS Russian News Agency, a state media outlet, reported that the agreement between Russia and South Ossetia will be officially codified and signed on February 18th:

“In accordance with the reached agreement, South Ossetian Foreign Minister Dmitry Sanakoev will visit Moscow on February 18 at the invitation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,” the ministry said.

The two ministers “will discuss prospects of further strengthening friendly relations between the two countries and exchange views on the current situation in South Caucasus and ways to consolidate peace and stability in the region,” it said, adding that the ministers also planned to consider measures to boost foreign policy cooperation, particularly as part of the Geneva discussions on security and stability in South Caucasus.