TSKHINVALI, Georgia, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A former leader from Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia announced his resignation, prompting his rival to declare a "shattering" election victory.
Education Minister Alla Dzhioyeva claimed a win over Kremlin-backed incumbent Eduard Kokoity, though the country's court annulled the results.
Kokoity announced during the weekend he was stepping down and several of the republic's top officials were fired, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.
"We have gained a shattering victory but it was stolen by Supreme Court chairman and one day he will be responsible for that," the news agency quoted Dzhioyeva as saying.
Russian went to war briefly with Georgia in 2008 over South Ossetia and another breakaway republic, Abkhazia. Moscow claimed the intervention not only prevented a humanitarian crisis but deterred NATO's eastward expansion.
Moscow last week objected to U.S. plans to install a missile shield in Europe. NATO leaders said Russia's reservations were based on a Cold War mentality and Washington stressed the defense system was meant to counter Iran.
Moscow in August 2010 deployed its S-300 missile shield to Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia to protect the airspace from "intruders."