Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees Tuesday recognizing the Georgian breakaway republics as independent states and called on other countries to follow suit. Foreign leaders have spoken out against the Russian decision while people in the Georgian breakaway regions greeted the news with raucous celebrations.
"The decision made by the Russian leadership is a threat to peace and stability in our region and across Europe, undermines the existing international order... is an illegitimate change of state borders and a manifestation of pressure and forceful interference," Viktor Yushchenko said.
Georgia attacked South Ossetia on August 8 in an attempt to regain control over the separatist republic, which split from Tbilisi in the early 1990s. Most people living in South Ossetia have Russian citizenship and Moscow subsequently launched an operation to "force Georgia to accept peace." The operation was concluded on August 12.
The British foreign secretary, David Miliband, called Wednesday on Ukraine to review its relations with Russia and make them those of equal partners.