DRI: The authorities’ response to the opening of the Russian naval base 4 kilometers from Anaklia is insufficient
The Democracy Research Institute considers that the response of the Georgian authorities to the opening of the Russian military naval base four kilometers from the territory controlled by the central authorities of Georgia is insufficient at this stage and therefore ineffective.
The de facto president of Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, said in an interview with the Russian media that the agreement on the opening of a permanent Russian naval base in Ochamchire has already been signed. According to him, the deployment of the military-naval fleet is aimed at increasing the defence capability of Russia and Abkhazia and serves their fundamental security interests.
In a resolution adopted on October 9, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly condemned Russia’s declared intention to build a naval base in Ochamchire.

According to the information available to the Democracy Research Institute, in order to ensure proper functioning of the military naval fleet, large-scale preparatory works have already been underway near the occupied Abkhaz village of Pichori, 4 kilometers from Anaklia, for three weeks. The village of Pichori is located in the low zone of the Gali district. According to the local contact persons of the Democracy Research Institute:

  • The Russian military, in conversations with the locals, say that Pichori will have an auxiliary function of the large military naval base of Ochamchire;
  • The construction of the military base has started;
  • Russians are actively conducting exercises, during which they imitated a drone attack on the Ochamchiri military port;
  • According to the residents of Ochamchiri, the process of installing radio-electronic warfare systems is actively underway on the site, which will probably be used against Ukrainian drones and missiles.
On October 24, 2023, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, responded to the news about the opening of the Russian military naval base in Ochamchire, noting that Ukraine would not refrain from attacking Russian military ships in Abkhazia: "Recently, the head of Russia had to announce the creation of a new base of the Black Sea Fleet, or rather its remnants, in the occupied territory of Georgia, that is, in the southeastern part of the sea, as far away from Ukrainian missiles and naval drones as possible, but we will reach them everywhere."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia expressed its concern "in connection with the statements made by the Russian occupation regime in Sokhumi about the opening of an additional Russian military base in the occupied territories of Georgia" and noted that "Similar actions represent a gross violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and another provocative attempt to legitimize the illegal occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions."

The parliamentary opposition demanded the adoption of a parliamentary resolution against the Russian naval base in Ochamchire.
The Democracy Research Institute considers that the deployment of the Russian naval fleet in Ochamchire poses a fundamental threat to the security of Georgia and the Black Sea region. Considering the scale of the expected threat, the protest declared by the authorities for only internal consumption is insufficient and ineffective. When a hostile state tries to build a military naval base on the territory of Georgia, disregarding international law, the Georgian authorities should at least take the following steps:

  • The Parliament of Georgia should immediately adopt the resolution initiated by the members of the parliamentary opposition "On the decision of Russia to open a permanent Russian military naval base in the Georgian region of Abkhazia occupied by Russia";
  • The State Security Service of Georgia and the Ministry of Defence of Georgia should immediately provide information to the population about the potential threats arising from the opening of the Russian military naval base;
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia should immediately mobilize the attention of international community around the importance of the issue.