Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a "strategic partnership" treaty with separatists in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.
The Kremlin said on February 4 that the treaty "establishes the basis for intergovernmental ties between Russia and the Republic of Abkhazia in the social, economic and humanitarian spheres."
It also envisages a joint "defense and security space" with a unified group of Russian-Abkhaz troops.
Putin and Abkhazia's separatist leader Raul Khadzhimba signed the treaty on November 24.
The separatist leader of another breakaway region of Georgia, South Ossetia, has said he will sign a pact in the coming months that strengthens ties with Russia.
Georgian officials say the treaties could lead to an attempt by Russia to illegally annex both territories.
Russia recognized the breakaway regions as independent states in 2008 after a brief war against Georgia.
Russia has kept thousands of troops in both regions since the war.