In a move set to further strain tensions with the West, deputies in Russiaâ€™s Duma have backed Georgian separatistsâ€™ 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.
â€œThere is no other way for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We will never go back to the past,â€ said Sergei Bagapsh.
Moscowâ€™s military intervened in Georgia earlier this month over South Ossetia. Like Abkhazia, it has fought a war to break away from Tbilisiâ€™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 Georgiaâ€™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 regionsâ€™ independence. His Georgian counterpart says such a move would have disastrous results.