As EU monitors arrive, new details contradict Russia's assertion that Georgia invaded South Ossetia first.
Contradictory messages are rampant as the EU and US reconsider security pledges to Georgia while new players such as Iran and Turkey enter the game.
President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday that Russia is 'a nation to be reckoned with.'
Tuesday, after invoking Kosovo to recognize two separatist republics, Russia changed its tack.
Damascus is seeking an arms deal with Moscow, a move that would bolster its position in the Middle East.
Medvedev approved the move a day after parliament voted unanimously in favor of it.
In the coming weeks, the West will be shaping a long-term response to what many see as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's bid to change the post-cold-war world.