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Russia’s abhorrent record on LGBT rights have sucked up most media attention in the run up to the  Sochi Olympics. But one issue of international concern that has gone largely un-remarked upon by the international community is Olympic site’s proximity to a massive and ongoing violation of international law.

Sochi sits about 25 kilometers from the internationally recognized border of Georgia. But in 2008 the de-facto border changed after a brief conflict between the former Soviet republic and its former motherland. (The conflict that occurred during the opening days of the Beijing Olympics, incidentally.)

In the ensuing fighting, Russia invaded Georgia and captured two territories: South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the latter of which is in eyeshot of the opening ceremony fireworks.

The origins of who started the war between Georgia and Russia are in dispute. But even if Russia is the aggrieved party, under international law one country cannot simply invade and occupy the territory of another sovereign country.

Russia pretends it is not occupying Abkhazia because Moscow formally recognized it as an independent country. But it is not. It is part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Georgia.

As you are watching the slope style or downhill events, remember that a land grab from war is but a few miles away.

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