Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said when asked whether unification of North and South Ossetia was possible, that it was up to the latter to decide.
Speaking at a youth forum Putin said on August 1, that Russia helped South Ossetian when it became a target of "military, provocative, criminal actions" of the Georgian leadership. "Future will depend on the South Ossetian people themselves,” Putin said.
He made the remarks when a participant of the forum from North Ossetia asked Putin whether it was possible to unite the two regions as peoples of North and South Ossetia were now split, which was "a joint problem".
“Yes, I understand. This is really a problem," Putin responded. "In various periods of history the border between North Ossetia and South Ossetia was running differently. There was a period, when there was no border at all. The border emerged in frames of a uniform state, in frames of the Russian Empire. Simply it was easier to rule that way,” the Russian PM said.
South Ossetian leader, Eduard Kokoity, said recently that Tskhinvali might consider type of, what he called, "union state" with Russia, but ruled out joining the region to Russia. Calls for joining Russia were frequently heard from Tskhinvali before the August, 2008 war and before the region's recognition by Russia few weeks after the war. Such sentiments are still heard time after time among some officials in Tskhinvali. Stanislav Kochiev, the breakaway region's parliamentary speaker said on August 2, that although unification with Russia was not on the agenda, Tskhinvali was "ready to enter either into union state of Russia and Belarus, or directly integrate withing the Russian Federation".
Dmitry Medoev, breakaway South Ossetia’s ambassador to Russia, however, said that Tskhinvali was not willing to become part of the Russian Federation. He said it was only considered possibility of becoming part of the union state - largely dysfunctional entity between Russia and Belarus; the latter does not recognize Abkhazia or South Ossetia as independent countries.