The Russian State Duma’s decision caused alarm in the international community.
The White House urged the Kremlin not to recognise Georgia’s rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries.
US Vice President Dick Cheney will travel to the area to underscore U.S. support for Tbilisi.
There was “grave concern” too from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the ceasefire deal ending the conflict in Georgia had been contravened.
“Today’s decision by the Duma to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is worrying”, she said.
“It is in violation of the international treaties, and I take for granted and expect that the Russian President does not sign this resolution.”
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Moscow of trying to recreate the Soviet Union, with Georgia the Kremlin’s vassal.
It is this spectre of the past that will no doubt be considered extensively in the EU emergency summit called by French President Nicholas Sarkozy to review the bloc’s relations with Moscow.