Russian President Vladimir Putin has traveled to Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia, prompting protest by the Georgian government.

His Tuesday's visit comes on the anniversary of a brief 2008 war between the two neighboring countries.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said "such cynical action ... serves for legitimization of forceful change of borders of the sovereign state through military aggression, ethnic cleansing and occupation."

Abkhazia broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s as the Soviet Union collapsed. Moscow has tightened its control over the lush Black Sea province and a second breakaway Georgian region, South Ossetia, since the war.

Russia recognizes both regions as independent nations and deploys its military there despite international condemnation.

Putin promised Tuesday to ease border controls and customs procedures to encourage travel and facilitate trade.