Saturday, August 30, 2008

Georgia to sever diplomatic ties with Russia

TBILISI, Georgia: Georgia has severed diplomatic ties with Moscow to protest the presence of Russian troops on its territory, and its president cast the far-confrontation over his country's fate as "a fight between the civilized and the uncivilized worlds."

With European Union leaders set to huddle on how to deal with an increasingly assertive Russia, Vladimir Putin angrily warned Europe on Friday not to do America's bidding and said Moscow does not fear Western sanctions.

Russia has faced isolation over its offensive in Georgia and its recognition of the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. No other country has followed suit and recognized the regions' independence. The United States and Europe have condemned Russia's actions but are hard pressed to find an effective response.

Georgia's diplomats in Russia will leave Moscow on Saturday, Georgian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nato Chikovani said. Georgia's leadership followed through on a call from lawmakers who voted unanimously late Thursday to break off ties with Russia, branding it an "aggressor country."

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