Friday, August 22, 2008

Russian General Staff: Saakashvili has lost right to dictate conditions

Генштаб ВС РФ: Саакашвили потерял право диктовать условия

The active participation of Western nations in modernizing the Georgian army was a powerful impetus for Tbilisi to unleash its aggression against South Ossetia. The view was expressed today at a Moscow press conference by Anatoliy Nogovitsyn, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

He noted that during Mikhail Saakashvili's presidency, the process of re-equipping the national armed forces became a large scale affair. In two years--from 2006 through 2007--the Georgian army doubled in size, and the defense budget grew to $900 million. According to Nogovitsyn, despite existing international agreements banning the delivery of offensive arms to countries involved in conflicts, a number of Western governments have delivered such arms to Georgia. 40% of Georgia's military technology is classified as "offensive." Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the rapid militarization and has tried to draw the attention of the international community to this. However, arms continued to be delivered to Georgia.

As the high-ranking official of the General Staff said, Western partners have often called on us to observe treaties concerning ordinary armed forces in Europe; however they believe that they themselves can ignore them. Nogovitsyn particularly emphasized that Georgia had prepared for a military campaign against South Ossetia. As proof, he displayed war maps, which had fallen into Russian hands. They show in detail the first stage of an armed conflict with South Ossetia. A simulation of the operation was carried out on April 24 of this year, during which Georgian commanders drew the movements of their divisions on the maps. According to Nogovitsyn, after what has taken place, Russia will not be asking the Georgian leadership where it can install peacekeeping posts, and where it cannot. "Saakashvili has broken the agreements, having given the order to begin aggressions, and now he doesn't have the moral right to dictate conditions," said the deputy chief of the General Staff.

IA Regnum

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