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Thick clouds over Caucasus2009-08-03 18:51
In the run-up to the tragic anniversary of the military conflict in South Ossetia last August the situation in the region starts getting hotter again. After new firings Tskhinval and its suburbs came under from the Georgian side the Russian Defense Ministry press-service and information department disseminated a statement calling these actions "an attempt of Georgian leaders to aggravate the situation in the region".
"A similar scenario was used in August 2008 resulting in the Georgian side's military aggression against South Ossetia and an attack on the Russian peacekeeping contingent", - the message goes. "These actions arouse great concern in Russia's Defense Ministry. In case of further provocations that threaten people of the republic and the Russian military contingent stationed in South Ossetia, the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense reserves the right to apply all available force to defend South Ossetian citizens and Russian militaries". - The statement of the Russian Defense ministry press-service and information department goes.
Now it's difficult to answer the question how timely and adequate this verbal demarche of the Russian ministry to a new Georgian aggression was but it is a good pretext for Tbilisi to bring up Russia's invasion threat.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili hastily assured the West he was not going to start a new war to get South Ossetia and Abkhazia back as he stated in his Sunday interview with Reuters agency. "The issue is whether anybody in the world wants new war in Europe with the participation of Russia, and the obvious answer is 'No'", - Georgian president, a man of peace, said emphasizing that Russia still wanted him out as the president of the republic. According to Saakashvili it's almost a miraculous story of survival that he hasn't been unseated yet.
Both official Tbilisi and EU monitors in Georgia categorically deny firings at South Ossetia. Seems like Tskhinval brings wrongful charges against Saakashvili's regime, right? According to the statement by the Georgian Foreign Ministry it does.
"The Russian side and its puppet regimes are deliberately aggravating the situation acting openly provoking," - is written in the statement by the Georgian Foreign Ministry directly accusing Russia. "According to the information of the Georgian Foreign Ministry on August 2 2009 occupants entered the village of Kveshi, Gori district and with the aim of shifting the so-called "border" marked off the territory of the Georgian village with posts, which represents an attempt by the Russian occupants to penetrate into the depth of the Georgian territory", - the statement of the Georgian Foreign Ministry disseminated on Sunday runs calling on the international community "to keep a close watch on the current development of events and give due assessment to the occupants' actions and rhetoric".
Thus on one hand Georgia (as the Georgian president says) is not going to force the breakaway territories back but on the other hand (as it is apparent from the statement by the Georgian Foreign Ministry) Russia is allegedly threatening Georgia's territorial integrity. That's why the West must fully understand the dramatic situation Georgia is in now facing "a new Russian aggression" and a threat to this "beacon of democracy" in the Caucasus that can be destroyed.
It's easy to see the logic of Saakashvili's latest speeches and his political institutions. Evidently Tbilisi started to realize - behind time though - that the attitude of the USA and a number of Europe's key states to Georgia had undergone considerable changes.