Abkhazia to restore air links with Russia
President Dmitry Medvedev said the military conflict in South Ossetia had killed every hope for the peaceful co-existence of Ossetians, Abkhazians and Georgians within one state.
He also called on the international community to acknowledge the republics:
“I signed decrees on the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by the Russian Federation. Russia calls on other countries to follow its example,” Medvedev said.
Russia’s message was that it has tolerated enough, watching mutual agreements violated and numerous provocations attempted by the Georgian leadership.
With its offensive against South Ossetia, Georgia put an end to the peace talks and the efforts the sides have been working on for almost twenty years.
“Given that Mikhail Saakashvili, having put his signature on a modified form of the Moscow principles, continues to ignore them, we are convinced that recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is the only feasible step for the survival and security of these nations,” said Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia have had de-facto independence from Georgia since the early 90s.
When Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed its independence, they thought they had a precedent to defend their cause but they lacked a crucial factor – the support of the U.S. and the EU.
“In both cases the centre started the war – Belgrade under Milosevic against Kosovo, and Tbilisi under Gamsakhurdia against Tskhinval and Sukhum. In both cases agreements about the end of hostilities were reached. In both cases peacekeeping forces were deployed. In both cases negotiation mechanisms were created. Since then Belgrade has never questioned these mechanisms or tried to destabilise the region by using force. The international negotiating mechanisms were abolished by the actions of Kosovo’s Albanians and their western supporters,” Lavrov pointed out.
As the Georgian military launched an attack against South Ossetia, the U.S. threw its full support behind Georgia and accused Russia of a disproportionate response.
NATO is now sending its vessels to the Black Sea to provide humanitarian aid.
The U.S. and some NATO members are ready for an anti-Russian coalition.
Possible sanctions include not letting Russia into the WTO and boycotting the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi.
In 1980 the U.S. boycotted the Summer Olympics in Moscow, as a response to the Soviet Union entering Afghanistan to fight the Taliban – the same Taliban that NATO has been fighting since 2001.
Russia says the main goal of the recognition is to provide security for its own citizens in the region and the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Moscow had a first-hand promise from Mikhail Saakashvili that he would never use force and a ceasefire agreement, which Georgia violated shelling Tskhinval.
With another promise and peace plan in its hands Russia is not taking any more chances.
Russia has already initiated procedures to establish diplomatic ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and the Abkhazian Parliament is in favour of signing a wide-ranging cooperation agreement with Russia.
Meanwhile, massive celebrations have been held in both newly-recognised republics. South Ossetian and Russian flags flooded the centre of Tskhinval, and in Abkhazia there was firework display in Sukhum.