August 26, 2008 / 1:49 PM / 10 years ago

Miliband urges coalition against Russia in Georgia

LONDON (Reuters) - Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Tuesday rejected Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions of Georgia and called for an international coalition to counter it.

“Today’s announcement by President (Dmitry) Medvedev that Russia will recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia is unjustifiable and unacceptable,” Miliband said in a statement.

“I am holding talks today with international partners and will be visiting Ukraine tomorrow to ensure the widest possible coalition against Russian aggression in Georgia,” he added.

Miliband’s voice was the latest in a rising chorus of international disapproval for the unilateral Russian action.

“Today’s announcement further inflames an already tense situation in the region. We fully support Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity, which cannot be changed by decree from Moscow,” Miliband added.

The West had strongly urged Moscow not to recognise the two regions and to respect Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over the breakaway region of South Ossetia earlier this month after Georgia sent in troops to try to retake the province by force. Russia responded with a massive counter-attack by land, sea and air.

Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; editing by Mary Gabriel

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