BRUSSELS, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- If NATO moves too close to Georgia, there is a risk of repeating the military conflict of 2008, the Russian foreign minister said from Brussels.
Russian forces responded when the Georgian military entered the separatist republic of South Ossetia in 2008. The conflict spilled over to engulf forces from Abkhazia, another separatist republic.
In November, NATO officials said Tbilisi still had reforms to carry out but was coming closer to the alliance.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following a NATO conference in Brussels that NATO should be wary of "pushing the current Georgian regime toward a repetition of their August 2008 gamble," Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.
Last month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said military action in the former Soviet republic prevented NATO allies from a campaign of expansion. He maintained Russian forces invaded to prevent a major humanitarian crisis in the region.
South Ossetia had presidential elections in November. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the Western alliance didn't recognize the region's elections, however.
The Kremlin-backed candidate lost that contest.