Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Abkhazia's President Raul Khadzhimba during a signing ceremony.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Abkhazia's President Raul Khadzhimba during a signing ceremony.Reuters

Russia is reaching out to take over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in a move that will further strengthen its hold in the Black Sea after the Crimean crisis.

Earlier on Monday, Abkhazia, a disputed territory in Caucasus, signed a treaty that will put a Russian commander in charge of all security forces in the region.

The treaty will ensure that in the next three years, the Abkhazia's defense, security, law enforcement, border, customs, economic and healthcare agencies are merged with Russia, RT reported. 

However, the development seems to have divided many within the "soverign" state. Earlier this year, Abkhazia's former leader, Alexander Ankvab, was made to step down after Kremlin-backed protesters called for his resignation.

Replacing him, Khadzhimba, a former Soviet KGB officer, was elected president in an early vote in August that Georgia dismissed as illegal.

Unlike Ankvab, who had resisted Moscow's push to let Russians buy assets in Abkhazia, Khadzhimba has been much eager to listen to Russian demands, reported Al Jazeera.

"Ties with Russia offer us full security guarantees and broad opportunities for socio-economic development,'' he said.

Defence analysts believe that the measure is a step along the path of Russia annexing Abkhazia, just as it took over Crimea earlier this year.

A similar "agreement" is being planned for South Ossetia. A report by The James Town Foundation noted that new treaties with Abkhazian and South Ossetia will soon break the 25-year-long illusion of "national independence" and "sovereignty."

"These integration treaties are the first steps. The next ones will be the two regions' eventual annexation into Russia over the coming years," the report noted.

But the larger question is, will Russia stop with Georgia and Ukraine? Or are the Baltic NATO members - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - too on the list of Russia's territorial expansion? 

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