Friday, 15 February 2008, 11:39 GMT
Russia links Kosovo with Georgia
Russia has indicated it may change its policy towards
breakaway regions in Georgia if the West recognises
the independence of Kosovo.
Moscow has repeatedly hinted it could recognise South
Ossetia and Abkhazia if Kosovo separates from Serbia.
The foreign ministry said Moscow would "take into
account" developments in Kosovo, but did not say how.
Kosovo may declare independence this weekend, and the
US and most EU states are expected to recognise it
Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is expected to
say later on Friday that the declaration of
independence will be made on 17 February, the AFP
reports quoting a source in Mr Thaci's office.
Serbia earlier urged the UN Security Council to oppose
Kosovo's expected move.
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Belgrade
would not use force to stop the secession of the
southern province but warned that allowing it would
give a green light to other separatist movements.
De facto independent
"We will, without doubt, have to take into account a
declaration and recognition of Kosovo independence in
connection with the situation in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia," Russia's foreign ministry said in a
The statement came after Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov met the leaders of South Ossetia and
Abkhazia in Moscow.
Most people in Georgia's two breakaway republics,
which have enjoyed de facto independence since the
early 1990s, already have Russian citizenship.
Tbilisi accuses Moscow of supporting both regions, in
order to undermine its own attempts to build a strong
and independent nation state.
Russia denies the accusations.