TIMELINE: Georgia and Russia's worsening relations

(Reuters) - Georgia recalled all but two of its diplomats from Moscow in protest on Wednesday after Russia recognized its rebel South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions as independent.

The issue of South Ossetia’s independence has bedeviled Georgia’s relations with Russia. Here is a short chronology of recent major events:

April 16 - Russian President Vladimir Putin orders officials to establish semi-official ties with separatist administrations in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia says the order is a violation of international law.

April 29 - Russia dispatches extra troops to Abkhazia to counter what it says are Georgian plans for an attack. The next day NATO accuses Moscow of increasing tensions with Georgia.

May 6 - Georgia says Russia’s deployment of extra troops in Abkhazia has brought the prospect of war “very close”.

May 31 - Putin, now prime minister, says he backs a Georgian proposal for Abkhazia’s autonomy but not full independence.

July 5 - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urges Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to refrain from “stoking tensions” in Georgia’s breakaway regions.

July 10 - Georgia recalls its ambassador from Moscow in protest over Russian fighters flying into Georgian airspace over South Ossetia.

August 4 - Russia accuses Georgia of using excessive force in South Ossetia after Russian-backed rebels said Georgian artillery had killed at least six people.

August 7 - The head of Russian peacekeepers in the region is quoted as saying Georgia and South Ossetian separatists agreed on a truce until they hold Russian-mediated talks.

-- Russia later says Georgia’s military operation in South Ossetia shows Tbilisi cannot be trusted and NATO should reconsider its plans to admit Georgia.

August 8 - Russia sends forces into Georgia to repel a Georgian assault on South Ossetia.

-- Saakashvili says the two countries are at war.

August 12 - Medvedev issues orders to stop fighting in the five-day conflict. Both sides sign up in principle to a plan brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

August 16 - Russia signs a peace deal to end the fighting in Georgia but said “extra security measures” were needed before it could begin withdrawing its troops.

August 22 - Russia says it has completed the pullout from Georgia of troops it sent in to reinforce peacekeepers.

August 25 - Both chambers of Russia’s parliament pass resolutions urging Medvedev to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent.

August 26 - Russia recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent. Medvedev says that Tbilisi’s desire to seize one of the rebel zones by force killed all hopes for their peaceful co-existence in one state with Georgia.

August 27 - Georgia recalls all but two of its diplomats from Moscow in protest.