Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych gave a strong hint on Tuesday that he may not recognize the independence of the former Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"I said before that we are against a politics of double standards," Yanukovych said, referring to Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008.
"It was already obvious back then that ... frozen conflicts would only get worse. Another perfect example is South Ossetia," he added, as quoted by the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper.
"It's my view that we must yet again underline that international law should apply to all without exceptions," he went on, saying that the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was "not currently on the agenda."
However, before his victory in February's polls, Yanukovych's Party of Regions called on then president Viktor Yushchenko's pro-Western administration to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Yanukovych also said Ukraine should recognize the republics after Russia's five-day war with Georgia over South Ossetia in August 2008.
Russia recognized the two republics' independence shortly after the war with Georgia, which began when Georgian forces attacked South Ossetia. Only Nicaragua, Venezuela and the tiny Pacific island state of Nauru have followed suit. Western powers have condemned Russia's move.
Many experts believe that Yanukovych, seen as pro-Russian during the election campaign, will "disappoint" Moscow, pledging friendship with the Kremlin while still trying to pursue Yushchenko's bid to take Ukraine into NATO and the EU.
Analysts have pointed out that Yanukovych has already snubbed Russia, making his first official trip abroad to Brussels, location of the EU headquarters, rather than Moscow after he was sworn in as president.
MOSCOW, March 2 (RIA Novosti)