Moscow - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday hailed the first anniversary of the independence of the breakaway Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and said Moscow's recognition of the two was "absolutely legitimate."
In remarks reported by Interfax, Medvedev appealed to other countries to follow up with recognition, and said Moscow's move to recognize the two republics was "irreversible."
He said Russia would continue to to provide military support for the two republics.
"Our step was, also from a point of view of international law, absolutely legitimate," Medvedev said about the August 26, 2008 move by Moscow to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a step coming shortly after the end of the brief but bitter war with Georgia.
The West condemned the move and continues to regard both regions as belonging to Georgia.
Medvedev's comments came while clebrations were going on in the South Ossetian capital Tskinvale, with President Eduard Kokoity thanking Russia for sending forces a year ago to defeat the "Georgian aggressors" and assure peace in the region.
So far, only Nicaragua has followed Russia's suit in recognizing the two breakaway republics.
In Brussels, NATO spokesman James Appathurai in a briefing on the anniversary highlighted Moscow's failure so far in gaining further recognition abroad for the two republics.
"No other country followed Russia in recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia. If there is a diplomatic failure, it is not NATO's," he said.
"This is not a question of winning or losing," Appathurai said. "But certainly the attempts to geet international recognition for Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states has failed. That is clear." (dpa)
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