Both Barack Obama and John McCain issued statements today on Russia's recognition of two breakaway regions in Georgia.
McCain said, "Russia today took a significant and negative step in recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two separatist Georgian provinces. In April, I warned that Russia was pursuing a policy of de facto annexation that threatened to undermine security and stability in the region. Today's decision, the culmination of a long effort aimed at splitting these two regions away from Georgia, represents a major step forward in that process. Moscow's action deserves condemnation from the entire international community, and Russia must understand that its violations of international law carry consequences.
"I also remain deeply concerned about Russia's continued refusal to comply with the terms of the ceasefire ending hostilities with Georgia. Reports indicate that Russian troops remain around the port city of Poti, a location that has no connection to South Ossetia or even to the 'buffer zone' Moscow is attempting to establish around it. Russia's deployments around Poti seem aimed at maintaining an economic stranglehold over Georgia's major Black Sea port."
Obama also criticized Russia's action.
“I condemn Russia's decision to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states and call upon all countries of the world not to accord any legitimacy to this action," Obama said.
“The United States should call for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to condemn Russia's decision in coordination with our European allies. The U.S. should lead within the UN and other international forums to cast a clear and unrelenting light on the decision, and to further isolate Russia internationally because of its actions. The OSCE must also send a serious monitoring group to Georgia."
“Let us be clear, no one wants to see another Cold War with Russia," Obama added. "The United States and Russia have many mutual interests, and Russia has the potential to become a critical stakeholder in the international system. But Russia's recent choices --not American or European decisions -- are threatening this potential and reminding us all that peace and security in Europe cannot be taken for granted.”
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.