Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Georgia's Deputy Prime Minister Giorgi

Crisis in the Caucasus Deepens as Georgia Recalls Envoy

July 11, 2008 05:03 PM
by Josh Katz
The conflict between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia reached new heights this week when Georgia recalled its envoy to Moscow.

30-Second Summary

Georgia responded to Russia’s incursion into Georgian airspace by removing its Moscow envoy on Thursday.

Russia had admitted to sending fighter jets because it wanted to prevent Georgia from taking any military action in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. According to The Independent, this marks “Russia’s first admission for a decade that its air force has flown over Georgian territory without permission.”

Speaking in Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commented on the tensions in the area, saying that Russia “needs to be a part of resolving the problem … and not contributing to it.”

Six people have died this month as a result of the fighting in the breakaway regions. Moscow’s feud with Georgia has also strained its relations with the United States. Although Washington has backed Georgia’s bid to join NATO, Russia’s opposition has pressured other members of the organization into denying Georgian membership.

In April, Russia–Georgia tension had increased sharply after an unmanned Georgian spy plane was shot down over Abkhazia. At the end of the month, Russia began strengthening its ties with the breakaway regions and Georgia accused the Russians of seeking a “de facto annexation.”

The conflict stems from the separatist unrest Georgia faced in Abkhazia and South Ossetia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993, Georgian troops were forced out of the region, and Russia has tacitly supported Georgian opposition movements ever since.

Headline Link: ‘Georgia recalls envoy after Russian incursion’

Background: Tensions between Georgia and Russia mount in April

Opinion & Analysis: How to handle the current situation

Related Topics: Russia upset over U.S. missile defense plans; the “color revolutions”

Reference: Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia


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