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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

 

Statement of the Georgian Foreign Ministry regarding the interview of the Russian President

logoEarlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that as early as in 2006, Russia had developed a plan to invade Georgia. This admission contradicts Russia's earlier assertions that its 2008 military attack was in response to a surprise attack from Georgia and that its invasion was meant to prevent a genocide and protect Russian citizens. It also underscores the premeditated nature of the invasion and highlights Moscow's utter disregard for international law. President Putin, who was Prime Minister at the time, also revealed that Moscow had been training militias of the Tskhinvali regime to participate in the invasion.

"There was a plan, it's no secret in my opinion," Putin said at the Kremlin in televised remarks to Russian media representatives. "It's within the framework of this plan that the Russian side acted. It was prepared by the General Staff at the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007. It was approved by me, agreed with me." Moreover, he said that within the framework of this plan South Ossetian militiamen were trained by Russian military specialists, adding that the men proved very helpful during the conflict.

President Putin's open admission of the long-term, pre-meditated nature of the 2008 invasion offers critical insight into the conflict. His statements confirm Georgia's long-standing position that Russia's armed incursion into Georgia in August 2008 constituted a premeditated act of aggression against a sovereign nation.

They also echo a statement made in November 2011 by then-President Dmitry Medvedev that the military aggression was intended to counter Georgia's NATO ambitions, and thus our country's sovereign choice to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community. "We have simply calmed some of our neighbors down by showing them that they should behave correctly in respect of Russia and in respect of neighboring small states," he said in Rostov-na-Donu. "And for some of our partners, including for the North Atlantic Alliance, it was a signal that before taking a decision about expansion of the Alliance, one should at first think about the geopolitical stability. I deem these [issues] to be the major lessons of those developments in 2008."

President Putin's also admitted that Russia trained militias of the Tskhinvali regime to fight Georgia's armed forces, a fact that highlights that Russia had for years been flouting its obligations as a supposed peacekeeper in Tskhinvali. These actions directly contravened Russia's commitments in various peace agreements, while blatantly violating Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Based on today's statement, the Georgian government calls upon the international community to continue to pressure Russia to withdraw its occupying forces from Georgia and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors.

This is especially critical given that Russia is continuing its military buildup in the occupied territories and is engaging in hostile rhetoric. This poses a grave and present security threat to Georgia. The international community should demand that Russia pledge not to use force against Georgia and should establish international security arrangements in these occupied Georgian territories.

 

Tbilisi, 8 August 2012

 

 
 

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