Belarus Won't Recognize Georgian Regions Yet

MINSK (Reuters) -- Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has stopped short of recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, leaving Nicaragua the only state to join Russia in recognizing them.

Belarus has been the only ex-Soviet country to openly support Russia's military intervention in Georgia last month, but has yet to recognize the two pro-Russian breakaway republics as independent, despite Minsk's close ties to Moscow.

"A time will come when we will examine this issue in Belarus just as Russia examined it -- in parliament," Lukashenka told reporters at a news conference in Minsk when asked if he would recognize their independence.

The Kremlin sent forces into Georgia in August, saying it needed to prevent genocide in breakaway South Ossetia after Georgian forces fired artillery on the rebel capital, Tskhinvali, in an effort to retake the breakaway region.

Europe and the United States have criticized Russia's action, saying its response was disproportionate. Russia now stands accused in the West of failing to comply with a French-brokered cease-fire deal -- an accusation it denies.



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