Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband Wednesday warned President Medvedev not to provoke a new Cold War with the West, but said that it would be counter-productive to try to isolate Russia for its actions and continued military presence in Georgia.
In a speech to students in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Miliband said that the sight of Russian tanks in Georgia had come as a "rude awakening." He also accused Medvedev of trying to "redraw the map" of the Caucasus through his unilateral recognition of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
"The Russian President says he is not afraid of a new Cold War," Miliband said. "We don’t want one. He has a big responsibility not to start one."
Miliband said that he had come to the Ukraine to demonstrate his support for the former Soviet republic, seen by some observers as the next possible target of Russian nationalism and aggression.
Like that in Georgia, the pro-Western government in Kiev wants to join Nato and the European Union — moves firmly opposed by Moscow.
"I want to re-affirm the commitment of the United Kingdom to support the democratic choices of the Ukrainian people," Miliband said. "My visit is designed to send a simple message: we have not forgotten our commitments to you. Nor shall we do so."
The Foreign Secretary said that events in Georgia had ended the period of post-Cold War calm in Europe.
"The Georgia crisis has provided a rude awakening. The sight of Russian tanks in a neighboring country on the 40th anniversary of the crushing of the Prague Spring has shown that the temptations of power politics remain," he said.
However he rejected calls for the international isolation of Russia, and urged instead a new policy of "hard-headed" engagement with Moscow.
"Isolation is not feasible — Russia is too enmeshed in the world economy," he said. "It would be counter-productive — its economic integration is the best discipline on its politics. It would only strengthen the sense of victimhood that is the fuel for intolerant nationalism."