Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega issued a decree Friday to officially recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Nicaragua has so far become the first country after Russia to recognize the two republics as independent states.
"Moscow has found deep satisfaction in Nicaragua's decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We would like other countries to deem it possible to recognize reality while following this example. And the reality is that both South Ossetia and Abkhazia are from now on independent states open for equal interaction with all members of the international community," the ministry said.
Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 26, two weeks after it had concluded its operation "to force Georgia to peace." The operation came in response to an attack by Georgian forces on breakaway South Ossetia on August 8.
Ortega announced on Tuesday during ceremonies for the 29th anniversary of the founding of the Latin American state's army that "Nicaragua recognizes the independence of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia and fully supports the Russian government's position."
Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Tbilisi in the early 1990s after bloody conflicts with Georgia. Russia later granted citizenship to the majority of residents of the two pro-Russian regions.
Russia has now withdrawn its regular troops from Georgia, but insists it can maintain checkpoints in security zones near the regions under the ceasefire deal brokered by France. Moscow has also accused Tbilisi of building up troops near South Ossetia.
Western nations have strongly criticized Russia for its "disproportionate" response to Georgia's attack and the recognition of Georgia's breakaway provinces. NATO-Russia cooperation has also been frozen.
Ortega, who led a Soviet-backed government that battled U.S.-supported Contra rebels in the late 1980s, sharply criticized the West for attempting to surround Russia and investing millions of dollars through NATO to "build a military fence against Russia."