Int'l events trigger for Russia, Georgia offensive: Analysts | world | Hindustan Times
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Int'l events trigger for Russia, Georgia offensive: Analysts

Russia's military action against Georgia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which could have far reaching consequences for Moscow's relations with the US.

world Updated: Aug 16, 2008 14:06 IST

Russia's military action against Georgia over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which could have far reaching consequences for Moscow's relations with the US, were trigged by two international developments in the last six months, according to analysts.

In an analysis of the situation, Robert McMahon, deputy editor of the leading think tank Council for Foreign Relation (CFR), says the first catalyst was recognition of Kosovo in February by the United States and European powers as an independent state.

The recognition came despite Vladimir Putin, then Russian President and now powerful Prime Minister, warning for years of the danger of recognizing Kosovo without Serbia's agreement. Serbia considers Kosovo to be its part.

A second international catalyst for Russia's offensive in Georgia, McMahon says, was a decision at NATO's Bucharest summit in April. The alliance, in a bow to Russia, declined to consider Georgia and Ukraine right away for a Membership Action Plan. But a NATO statement pledging to reconsider the two countries' bids in December infuriated Kremlin.

Putin responded by setting in motion moves to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and stepped up patrols of Russian forces ostensibly peacekeepers in those regions, he writes.

Russia, McMahon says, followed that decision by stepping up moves to upgrade its relations with the two breakaway Georgian regions, which it already provided with crucial economic support.