Russian MPs back Georgia’s rebel regions

In a move set to further strain tensions with the West, deputies in Russia’s Duma have backed Georgian separatists’ battle for independence.

Both houses of parliament voted unanimously for a resolution urging the Kremlin to recognize the breakaway enclaves of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Separatist leaders were present to make personal pleas.

The self-styled Abkhaz President urged support in the name of the future of his people and those of South Ossetia and the stable development of the Caucasus.
“There is no other way for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We will never go back to the past,” said Sergei Bagapsh.

Moscow’s military intervened in Georgia earlier this month over South Ossetia. Like Abkhazia, it has fought a war to break away from Tbilisi’s rule.

Regarded internationally as being part of Georgia, both pro-Russian regions are multiplying efforts to have their self-declared independence recognized.
Last week, they hosted high-profile rallies.

While the West insists Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected, the Kremlin has said it would support the self-determination drive.

With the ultimate say, President Dmitry Medvedev must now decide whether Russia will recognize the regions’ independence. His Georgian counterpart says such a move would have disastrous results.

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