Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.
Shoigu and the South Ossetian military chief, Ibragim Gasseyev, agreed to the move in Moscow on Friday.
The integration of the South Ossetian soldiers into the Russian Army stabilizes the situation in the Caucasus, Shoigu told Interfax news agency.
Russian forces have twice prevented Georgia from reclaiming the breakaway region, first in 1992 and again in 2008 after a brief war.
Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a second region that seceded from Georgia, as independent states in 2008.
South Ossetia, which has a land area of just 3,885 square kilometres, has an estimated military force of just 2,000.
The South Ossetian leadership plans to hold a referendum this year on becoming part of Russia.