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26 Aug, 2008 16:54

Russia recognises Abkhazian & South Ossetian independence

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed decrees, formally recognising the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He says the military conflict in South Ossetia has killed every hope for the peaceful co-existenc

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.

“Based on the current situation it was necessary to make a decision. We respect the free will of the South Ossetian and Abkhazian people. And basing our actions on the regulations of the UN and the agreement of 1970 regulating relations between the countries, the Helsinki act of 1975 and other international regulations and documents I’ve signed an order to recognise the independence of South Ossetia and the independence of Abkhazia by the Russian federation,” Medvedev said.

To watch Dmitry Medvedev's announcement in full, please follow the link

Russia’s message is that it has tolerated enough – watching mutual agreements violated and numerous provocations attempted by the Georgian leadership. With its offensive on South Ossetia, Georgia put an end to peace talks and work by all sides for almost 20 years

“Given that Mikhail Saakashvili, having put his signature on a modified signature on the Moscow principles, continues to ignore them we’re convinced that recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is the only feasible step for the survival or security of these nations,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia have been defacto independent from Georgia since the early 1990s.

When Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence, both breakaway regions thought they had a precedent to defend their cause. But they lacked one crucial factor – the support of the U.S. and the EU.

“In both cases the centres started the war. In both cases peacekeeping forces were deployed. In both cases negotiating 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 action of Kosovo Albanians and their western supporters,” Lavrov said.

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 a suspension of the NATO-Russia Council, a roadblock to Russia’s  WTO membership and a boycott of Sochi’s winter Olympics in 2014.

In 1980 the U.S. boycotted the summer Olympics in Moscow.

It was their response after the Soviet Union entered Afghanistan to fight the Taliban – the same Taliban that NATO has been fighting since 2001.