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After the recent conflict in the Caucasus and Russia’s recognition of both South Ossetia and Georgia as independent states, Russia continues to defy the West and the pledges made in the ceasefire agreement, by planning to keep about 8000 troops in the region.

Is the West being hypocritical in refusing to recognise South Ossetia and Georgia as independent states, after its recent support and recognition of Kosovo’s independence? Should Georgia be encouraged to join NATO? And how concerned should we be over the frosty relationship that’s developing between Russia and the West?

Pavel Andreev is a Deputy UK Bureau Chief and a commentator for the Russian News Agency RIA Novosti, which he joined in 2006. His writes about Russo-British relations, International Relations and British Politics. Before returning to Journalism, which he practiced extensively earlier  in life, he was in the Diplomatic Service, serving in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow and its Embassy in London.

Oksana Antonenko is a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Ms. Antonenko co-edited the book Russia and the European Union: Prospects for a New Relationship and in 2005 she facilitated two meetings between Georgian and South Ossetian senior officials and experts with the aim of promoting conflict resolution in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict.

Damien McElroy has been Foreign Affairs Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph since 2006. Prior to that he was on the Sunday Telegraph and has been posted in Istanbul and Beijing in his ten years working with the Telegraph. He covered the recent conflict in Georgia.

Roy Allison is Reader in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before he joined the LSE he was Head of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs), 1993-2005. His most recent co-authored book is Putin’s Russia and the Enlarged Europe. He has visited Georgia frequently since 1987.

Kim Sengupta is the defence and diplomatic correspondent at The Independent