"Russia clearly intended this as a blatant challenge to world order. It's now up to all of us to roll Russian aggression back. If they get away with this, they will carry on ... they will also attack other countries in the neighbourhood," he told Reuters in an interview. Russia quickly routed Georgian forces in a brief war over South Ossetia this month, the first time it has sent its forces into combat abroad since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
The crisis has rattled the West and alarmed other former Soviet republics with sizeable Russian minorities, particularly Ukraine and the Baltic states.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko joined Western nations in condemning the Russian move on Tuesday to recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states under Moscow's protection. "We are sorry about this decision, for Ukraine it is unacceptable and therefore we cannot support this position," he said in an interview with Reuters.