Until three weeks ago, the international community paid little attention to the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Then Georgia's President, Mikhail Saakashvili tried to reassert control over South Ossetia by sending in the military. Russia intervened and crushed the Georgian army.
Today, Moscow upped the ante.
Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, today recognized the breakaway Georgian South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. The move heightens tensions between Russia and the West.
Earlier, President Medvedev told the BBC that Russia had been obliged to act because of Georgia's "genocide" of separatists.
President George W. Bush warned his Russian counterpart, that his "irresponsible decision" was exacerbating tensions in the region. Georgia said Russia was seeking to "change Europe's borders by force".
But what President Bush considers irresponsible, Russia's Charge D'Affaires Aleksander Darchiyev, considers inevitable.
"The World" anchor Lisa Mullins speaks with Aleksander Darchiyev at Russia's embassy in Washington, to find out more about Russia's intentions.
PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.