Georgia has two main separatist groups: the Abkhazians and the Ossetians in the north. The territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia both established de facto independence from Georgia with the help of Russia in a 2008 war. South Ossetia is inhabited mostly by Ossetians, who speak a language distantly related to Persian. Most ethnic Georgians – who accounted for about a third of the population prior to the fall of the Soviet Union – have been displaced from the region by the two conflicts. Russia has been gradually stepping up control in both regions. In April 2009, it signed a five-year agreement to take formal control of both territory’s frontiers with Georgia. In 2015, it started to put more pressure on Georgia over South Ossetia. It signed an ‘alliance and integration agreement’ with the region that abolished border checkpoints. Russian forces also pushed the border fence 1.5 kilometres further into Georgia proper. It now occupies a position a short distance from the country’s main east– west highway. Less controversial is the region officially known as the Autonomous Republic of Adjara in the south of the country – an important tourist destination.