Russia called on Tuesday for international recognition of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia a year after its own recognition prompted Georgia to accuse it of a land grab.
President Dmitry Medvedev announced Russia’s recognition of the two territories as independent on August 26 last year in a televised address after his forces had crushed a Georgian attempt to retake the territories.
But despite intense pressure on traditional allies such as Belarus and Kazakhstan, only Nicaragua has followed Moscow’s lead in recognizing them. Georgia described that on Tuesday as a “diplomatic defeat” for Moscow.
Russia says its recognition was part of a bid to protect Russian citizens in the two provinces, which split from central Georgian control in wars in the 1990s. It also hinted it was Russia’s answer to Western powers’ recognition of Kosovo’s independence in the face of Russian objections.
Georgia, citing military bases that Moscow has placed in both regions, said the war and the recognition amounted to the seizure of its sovereign territory.
Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said the recognition of the territories by the world community was the only way to ensure security and peace in the region.
“The expansion of the process of recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by members of the international community — no matter how far off they are — will undoubtedly assist the long term strengthening of peace and security in the region,” the ministry said in a statement.