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Abkhazia, South Ossetia’s sovereignty could spark CIS crisis

Russia could possibly recognize the independence of Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but a serious crisis in the CIS would follow, a top Russian lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Leaders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two Georgian breakaway republics, which saw a bloody conflict after they declared independence from Georgia in 1991, said that Kosovo’s independence proclaimed unilaterally last Sunday should be taken into account as far as their sovereignty is concerned. “We should understand that by recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia we could trigger a serious crisis in the CIS,” Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the International Affairs Committee at the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, said, adding that over half of all ex-Soviet states “have their own Kosovo and Abkhazia.”

In the 1990s, CIS member states forged an agreement that their state frontiers should be defined by Soviet administrative borders and any violation of the agreement could mar diplomatic relations not only with the CIS countries, but also with NATO, the EU and the US. “From the viewpoint of international law, we recognize Georgia in its borders, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the lawmaker said.

The Russian parliament said in a statement on Monday that the Kosovo precedent gives Russia the right to forge new relationships with self-proclaimed states. “The declaration of sovereignty by Kosovo and its recognition will undoubtedly be taken into account in [Russia’s] relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week. (