Just last week, President Obama was visiting Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow and the two were working feverishly on improving their strained relations. It wasn’t entirely successful to begin with, but now the tensions seem to be on the rise once again.
The issue, as it was last year, is Georgia. A US warship is in the Georgian republic today for joint military exercises, an uncomfortable reminder of US support for the Caucasus nation after August’s brief war with Russia. Just down the shore in Novorossylsk, Russian warplanes are conducting an exercise of their own.
Meanwhile, President Medvedev has made a trip to neighboring South Ossetia, a breakaway nation that formally seceeded from Georgia after the war, with Russian backing. The US State Department condemned the visit, saying it was not helping to establish stability in the region.
The US still refuses to recognize the independence of South Ossetia or fellow breakaway republic Abkhazia, and says they should be returned to Georgian control. The Bush Administration promised to use the US veto in the UN Security Council to keep the nations from ever being recognized internationally.
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