"This is not an easy decision, but it is the only way to protect people's lives,"Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised address.
Both houses of Russia's parliament voted unanimously on Monday on a resolution asking the Russian president to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, following requests from the leaders of both breakaway republics.
The move will further worsen Russia's relations with the West, already strained over Moscow's response to Georgia's attack earlier this month to retake South Ossetia.
U.S. President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Medvedev against the move on Monday, urging him to respect Georgia's territorial integrity.
Russian officials have said Georgia lost its right to the two regions after launching a military offensive that killed hundreds of people and forced thousands to flee devastated South Ossetia.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Yury Gagarin: A down-to-earth person
Infographics: The Linguistic Diversity of the Planet
During Vladimir Putin’s annual Q&A session some members of the Valdai International Discussion Club asked him several questions. How united is the West in its desire to punish Russia? Which EU countries are in favour of isolating Russia? Is this even possible? And what is going on in Ukraine?