World Bulletin / News Desk
Unless Russian intervention in Crimea is stopped immediately, Moscow's next targets will be eastern Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, according to Georgia's First Deputy State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, David Dondua.
"What is happening in Crimea is the continuation of the same process of the 2008 South Ossetia war, when Russian troops were in Georgia," Dondua told Anadolu Agency.
Russia and Georgia fought a brief war in August 2008 after nearly a week of clashes between Georgian troops and separatist South Ossetian forces.
Russia used the pretext of protecting its citizens to send in troops and launch air attacks on Georgian forces as most South Ossetians have Russian passports.
Following Western protests, Russia pulled its forces back towards South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region Abkhazia under a cease-fire agreement, but later recognized both as independent states.
Transnistria, another post-Soviet frozen conflict zone, unrecognized by Moldova and the international community, proclaimed independence from Moldova in 1990. In a September 2006 referendum, the breakaway republic reiterated its demand for independence and backed a plan to eventually join Russia.
Dondua questioned the legitimacy of Russia's troops in Crimea and said no one can justify Moscow's military intervention.
"It is against international law and a bilateral treaty between Ukraine and Russia," he added.
Dondua continued saying that the heightened tension in Crimea would have a direct impact on the stability of the Black Sea region and further afield.
"If Russia is not stopped in Crimea, next will be Moldova and again Georgia, because their mission is over in Tbilisi. They will need Chisinau...they will go further west," he said.
Dondua said statements from the international community would not be enough and called for urgent action, "Action is needed but not military action. Russia, with economic sanctions, can be easily dealt with.”
"Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the E.U. and the U.S. will not go further than statements. In a few months, we think that it will be business as usual between Europe, the U.S. and Russia."
Crimea's pro-Russian population has taken control of the regional parliament and announced a referendum for March 16 to join Russia.
Crimea is almost universally Russian speaking, though only 60 percent of the population is made up of ethnic Russians.
On February 27, the Crimean parliament elected pro-Russian Sergey Aksyonov as its new leader, along with several ministers. The new Ukrainian government regards Crimea's moves since February 27 as being unilateral; since Ukrainian law requires Crimea to seek Kiev's approval on such decisions, including the decision to hold referendums.Last Mod: 13 Mart 2014, 09:34