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Russia's case on Georgia territories: Like Kosovo or not?

Tuesday, after invoking Kosovo to recognize two separatist republics, Russia changed its tack.

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Rich Clabaugh–STAFF

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In the wake of Russia's recognition of two separatist Georgian republics Tuesday, Moscow is moving swiftly in another war – how to define and present its legal case to the world. One chief area of this battle is Kosovo, the Serbian province that declared its independence in February – something Moscow had long warned would "legitimize" the separation of territories such as South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia.

Yet hours after Russia recognized the independence of those republics Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov turned the tables. Taking a new legal tack, he called any parallels between Kosovo and Georgia "irrelevant," and offered an interpretation of events that essentially makes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili a worse war criminal than former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic.

Despite strong warnings from then-President Vladimir Putin leading up to Kosovo's declaration of independence, the US and 20 of 27 European Union nations have since recognized Kosovo's new status.

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