Georgia's rebel region to vote on joining Russia in 2017: official

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with the leader of Georgia's breakaway province of South Ossetia, Leonid Tibilov, on March 31, 2016Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia will hold a referendum on joining Russia next year, its president and parliament speaker said in a statement Thursday. The Moscow-backed region, recognised as independent by Russia since a brief war with Georgia in 2008, will hold the vote after presidential elections, the statement on the website of the regional presidency said. President Leonid Tibilov and speaker Anatoly Bibilov said they are formally endorsing the idea of “holding the referendum on the issue of South Ossetia’s entering the Russian federation in 2017,” it said.

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