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Tbilisi says Russia trying to annex Georgia's breakaway regions

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Georgian Foreign Minister David Bakradze accused Russia on Wednesday of trying to annex the country's unrecognized republics.
TBILISI, April 16 (RIA Novosti) - Georgian Foreign Minister David Bakradze accused Russia on Wednesday of trying to annex the country's unrecognized republics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the government to develop measures to aid Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia Wednesday. Moscow is expected to cooperate with both de-facto authorities in the two republics.

The Russian foreign ministry said, however, that in developing relations with Georgia's breakaway republics, Russia did not want confrontation with Tbilisi.

The move meanwhile prompted Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to call an emergency session of the National Security Council to discuss Russia's policy regarding Georgia's unrecognized republics, which proclaimed their independence from Tbilisi in 1991 following the break up of the Soviet Union.

After the session Bakradze told reporters: "We assess the measures ... as an attempt to legalize the process of a de facto annexation of the two Georgian regions."

The minister also said that Russia "violated international laws and the Georgian side would take all the diplomatic, political and legal steps to prevent this process."

Shortly after Kosovo declared its independence in February, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, along with Moldova's Transdnestr, requested Russia's parliament, the United Nations and other organizations recognize their independence.

In March the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, proposed that the president and the government consider the issue of whether to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The Federation Council is due to discuss the issue of recognizing the two breakaway republics at a session on April 25.

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