South Ossetia ( /əˈsɛtiə/ ə-SET-ee-ə or /ɒˈsiːʃə/ o-SEE-shə; Ossetic: Хуссар Ирыстон, Xussar Iryston; Georgian: სამხრეთი ოსეთი, Samxreti Oseti; Russian: Южная Осетия, Yuzhnaya Osetiya) or Tskhinvali Region (Georgian: ცხინვალის რეგიონი, Tsxinvalis regioni; Russian: Цхинвальский регион, Tskhinvalskiy region) is a disputed region and partly recognized state in the South Caucasus, located in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in the USSR.
South Ossetians declared independence from Georgia in 1990, calling themselves the Republic of South Ossetia. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and trying to retake the region by force. This led to the 1991–1992 South Ossetia War. Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008. The last conflict led to the 2008 South Ossetia war, during which Ossetian and Russian forces gained full, de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast.
In the wake of the 2008 South Ossetia War, Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru, Vanuatu, and Tuvalu have recognized South Ossetia as a sovereign nation.
Georgia does not recognize the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity, and considers most of its territory a part of the Shida Kartli region under Georgian sovereignty, occupied by the Russian army.
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