Georgia breaks ties with Russia

TBILISI — Georgia has decided to cut diplomatic ties with Russia, days after Moscow recognized the independence of her 2 breakaway regions.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said his ministry had received its instructions and “the final decision has been made”.

The move came after another day of heated exchanges over the provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia and Georgia fought a brief war over the issue earlier this month.

Georgia had already announced that it would scale back staffing at its Moscow embassy, and that its ambassador – who was withdrawn last month – would not be returning.

But the Foreign Ministry now says all of its diplomats will return from the Moscow embassy “in the coming days”.

Georgian officials did not give any reasons for the decision, but it comes amid reports that Moscow intends to extend its involvement in the two provinces.

South Ossetia’s parliamentary speaker Znaur Gassiyev said Russia would absorb the region within “several years”, according to a report by the Associated Press.

He said the move had been agreed at high-level talks in Moscow earlier this week.

The Russian Interfax news agency reported that Moscow will sign an agreement next week allowing it to set up military bases in the region.

And Interfax also quoted Abkhazia’s foreign minister, Sergei Shamba, as saying his province “may become part of the Union State of Russia and Belarus”.

The Kremlin has not yet commented on the reports.

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