Russia to reconsider ties with breakaway Georgian regions on Kosovo

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Moscow, Feb 15 (UNI) Russia today warned that it would be forced to reconsider its relations with two Georgian breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, if Kosovo declares independence and it is recognised by other states.

The warning came in a statement by Russian Foreign Ministry after a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Presidents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Sergei Bagapsh and Eduard Kokoity.

''Proclamation and recognition of Kosovo's independence will certainly have to be considered in connection with the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,'' it said.

''At that, Russia confirms its invariable striving to assist in every way a peaceful settlement of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-Ossetian conflicts within the framework of the existing formats, and to counter any attempt to solve the problems with forceful methods,'' the statement added.

Kosovo, a separatist province in southern Serbia, is expected to unilaterally declare its independence on Sunday.

Russia has repeatedly said granting Kosovo sovereignty could set a precedent and trigger a chain reactions for secessionist regions throughout the world, including in Greece, Spain, Georgia, Moldova and Cyprus.

UNI XC AM KN2154

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