Zoink! Russia Takes Abkhazia, South Ossetia


The European Union, NATO, and Georgia are accusing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev of annexing the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, occupied after last summer's war five-day war with the former Soviet republic. The Telegraph has details:

Moscow's move, which drew swift international condemnation, comes amid fears of a new crisis in East-West relations following the expulsion from Brussels of two Russian diplomats to Nato who were accused of espionage.

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, signed two pacts giving Moscow formal responsibility for the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two Georgian provinces which have declared independence from Tbilisi…

After defeating the Georgian army within five days, Russia defied international opinion by recognising the sovereignty of both "states", a move followed only by Nicaragua. The West maintains that both provinces lie on sovereign territory.

In a separate story, the Telegraph provides details of the European Union's angry—and toothless—response:

Karel Schwarzenberg, the Czech foreign minister and current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, attacked the plan saying it violated last year's Russia-Georgia peace agreement. "Russia is changing the situation on the ground the whole time. We cannot consider them a reliable partner," he said

"We get this unexpected news that means that any hope for trust, which is vital, was destroyed." Mr Schwarzenberg expressed anger at the failure of Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, to inform the EU of any developments or Moscow's intentions at a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday.

An EU statement has expressed "deep concern" at the Russia's assumption of control of the protection of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Contributing editor Cathy Young on why the war in Georgia wasn't as "unprovoked" as many first believed.