Russia votes for Georgian regions independence

August 25, 2008 12:00 am

, MOSCOW, August 25 – Russia’s upper house of parliament on Monday voted in support of recognising the independence of two Georgian regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The appeal, which calls on President Dmitry Medvedev to recognise the two territories, was approved unanimously.
The two rebel regions "have all the attributes of independent states," the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Sergei Mironov, told deputies ahead of a vote on recognition.

Recognition would represent a break with the international community on the status of the rebel regions, potentially redrawing the map of the strategic Caucasus Mountains, located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

Moscow has backed the separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia since their break with Tbilisi in the early 1990s but had stopped short of declaring them independent from Georgia.

The regions are internationally recognised as part of Georgia and a move to declare them independent would further dent relations with the West, which have plunged to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War over Russia’s intervention and insistence on maintaining positions deep inside Georgia.