Monday, May 17, 2010

Moscow's Abkhazia and South Ossetia Problem

Map of Georgia showing the autonomous republic...Image via Wikipedia
Despite my normal misgivings about Ukraine’s changing foreign policy positions toward Russia and the West – none of which is surprising since Russia is next door and has all the leverage – their Minister of Foreign Affairs Kostyantyn Hryshchenko has said that the Yanukovych administration has no plans to recognize an independent Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Citing the sanctity of borders as the reason, Kyiv has now joined Minsk in refusing, so far, to bow to Moscow’s need to have some other countries aside from the diplomatic coups of getting Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru (look it up) to recognize both break-away regions of Georgia.

How long Belarus will keep up its in-your-face attitude with Russia is an open question. They have welcomed former president Bakiyev of the Kyrgyz Republic, a less than popular decision in the Kremlin, and have also refused recognition of Georgia’s lost regions. The same is true for Kyiv, which may be realizing that its balancing act with Europe would be damaged by recognition. Moscow has a problem, which may account for its less aggressive tone lately as it tries to attract Western investment.

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