Thursday, August 28, 2008

Russian General Staff: Foreign states supporting Georgia by re-equipping its armies

Генштаб: Иностранные государства оказывают поддержку Грузии в восстановлении боеспособности её войск

The restoration of Georgia's armed forces is being done with direct support of foreign states. The statement was made today, August 28, at a Moscow briefing by Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

According to Nogovitsyn, the British NGO "HALO Trust", whose mission is to remove mines, trained Georgian mine clearers. And experts from Ukraine provided Georgia with technical services to bring back online the communication systems of Georgia's ground forces.

In contrast, Russia is strictly observing the principles of the resolution of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict and continues the withdrawal of its forces to their positions, noted the representative of the General Staff.

Putin: War in South Ossetia designed to help US Presidential candidate

Путин: Война в Южной Осетии была выгодна неким силам в США для создания преимуществ одному из кандидатов в президенты

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin does not exclude the possibility that the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict could have been provoked by certain forces in the US in order to give one of the presidential candidates an advantage. Putin expressed his opinion in an interview with CNN.

"If my guesses turn out to be true, then there is the suspicion that someone in the US specifically created this conflict with the aim to aggravate the situation and give an advantage to one of the US Presidential candidates in this competitive election," stated Putin.

Russian General Staff: Georgian statements that Russia prepared for war well in advance without basis

Генштаб: Заявление Грузии о том, что Россия заранее готовилась к войне, не имеет под собой оснований

"Statements from Georgia saying that Russia prepared for aggressions against Georgia well in advance are obviously false and have no basis in fact," stated Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, commenting on statements from Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili saying that Russia had been preparing for armed aggressions against Georgia since 2007 and that Georgia has documents to prove it.

As an IA Regnum correspondent reports, Nogovitsyn stated: "Let them show these documents, we're prepared to examine them. But they will turn out to be baseless statements. Let this rest on the conscience of those who make them." He also noted that Russia itself has at its disposal powerful evidence of Georgia's preparations for military operations against South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "Based on valuable articles seized in the war and intelligence from investigations, we are prepared to prove that Georgia prepared for war well in advance and was the first to begin aggressions," stated the representative of the General Staff.

Belarus preparing to recognize independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Белоруссия готовится к признанию независимости Абхазии и Южной Осетии

Minsk will soon support the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The statement was made to journalists in Moscow on August 28 by the ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to Russia, Vasily Dolgolyov. According to him, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will make an announcement of support. "I think most likely today, and if not today, then tomorrow," he said, speaking on when the announcement is likely to occur.

As IA Regnum reported earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko today spoke for the consolidated position of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and also reaffirmed his alliance with Russia. In a statement to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on August 28, the head of the Belarusian state expressed his opinion that it would be expedient to submit this issue for consideration to the Collective Security Council of the CSTO, whose next session is scheduled for September 5, and to accept the consolidated position of member states.

Lavrov: Russia not urging other countries to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Россия не подталкивает другие страны к признанию независимости Южной Осетии и Абхазии: Лавров

Russia is not actively encouraging other countries to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Sergey Lavrov, head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, made the statement today, August 28. According to him, negotiations are not being conducted on this account. "Unlike some of our Western partners, we prefer each country to think for itself," he emphasized. "We are perfectly aware of trips by American emissaries to other countries and that they are educating them on America's position. Such rudeness does not have a place in our political tradition," declared the minister.

Today at a press conference in Minsk, the Russian ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov stated that "Russia is counting on Belarus to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia." "To recognize or not to recognize their sovereignty--this is the sovereign right of Belarus, but we, to tell the truth, are counting on them as the closest partner of the Russian Federation," noted the diplomat.

Russia proposes that OSCE listen to Bagapsh and Kokoity

Россия предложила ОБСЕ выслушать Багапша и Кокойты

Russia believes that it would be expedient to invite the leaders of the newly formed states of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to a session of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As Anvar Azimov, permanent representative of Russia to the OSCE, told journalists, this would help create an objective picture of the situation which has arisen in the region. However, the Russian representative expressed doubts that this initiative would be supported by the secretary of the OSCE.

In Rukhi, release of captured Georgian soldiers awaited

სოფელ რუხში რუსების მიერ დაკავებული ქართველი ჯარისკაცების გათავისუფლებას ელოდებიან

Residents of the village of Rukhi in the Zugdidi region [near Abkhazia] are waiting for the release of Georgian soldiers captured by Russian forces near the Enguri Bridge. According to an "Interpressnews" correspondent, they were to have been released today at 10:00. However, more than an hour later, local authorities are still waiting for their release.

The soldiers have not yet been brought to Rukhi, but according to official sources, it is only a matter of time and they will definitely free them today.

22 Georgian soldiers were captured by Russian occupiers at the port in Poti 10 days ago and they were transfered to the Senaki military base. Later, 12 of them were released. The rest, however, were held prisoner by the Russians in the village of Urta and then the Gali district.

Interpressnews [Georgian news agency]

Dmitry Medvedev: Russia had no choice but to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia

У России не было иного выбора, кроме как признать независимость Абхазии и Южной Осетии: Дмитрий Медведев

"In consideration of the free will of the Ossetian and Abkhazian peoples and guided by the provisions of the UN Charter and other international documents, I signed a decree on behalf of the Russian Federation recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia," stated Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today, August 28 in a piece he wrote entitled "The Right to Self-determination: Why I was compelled to recognize the breakaway regions of Georgia," published in the newspaper "Vedomosti."

As Medvedev notes, Russia's decision to recognize the independence "was not easy and was not done without fully appreciating the consequences." The President emphasizes that the potential consequences were weighed against a sober estimation of the situation--the history of the Abkhazian and Ossetian peoples, their freely given support for independence, the tragic consequences of the last few weeks, and the international precedents for similar actions." In his piece, the Russian leader reminds readers that after the breakup of the USSR "Georgia immediately deprived the autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia of their autonomy. Can you imagine that the Tbilisi government closed the Abkhazian university in Sokhumi because they said that they didn't have a genuine language or history, so what use was a university? Having recently gained independence, Georgia began a vicious war against its own minorities, deprived thousands of people of their homes, and sowed seeds of discontent which would only grow."

In Medvedev's opinion, Western countries certainly had an effect on "the aspirations of South Ossetians and Abkhazians for freedom. They brought themselves closer to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose first step was to destroy the autonomy of yet another region, Adjara." "Western countries," the Russian president reminds readers, "hurried to recognize Kosovo's illegal proclamation of independence from Serbia. We consistently pointed out that after this it would be impossible to explain to Ossetians and Abkhazians (and dozens of other groups in the world) that this was beneficial for Kosovo Albanians, but it would not be beneficial for them. In international relations you cannot have one set of rules for one group and another for the rest."

Dmitry Medvedev emphasizes that Russia had no choice but to introuduce its army onto South Ossetian and Georgian territory after the events of August 7 and 8. "This war was not our choice," emphasizes the president, "we do not have any designs on Georgian territory. Our army entered Georgian territory in order to neutralize those bases which were supporting the attacks, and then they left. We restored peace, but we could not extinguish the South Ossetian and Abkhazian peoples' fear that Saakashvili would continue (with partnership and encouragement from the US and other NATO member countries) to talk of rearming his forces and restoring control over "Georgian territory." The presidents of the two republics appealed to Russia to recognize their independence."

In the conclusion of his piece in "Vedomosti," Medvedev emphasizes that Russia has friendly feelings towards the Georgian people and hopes that Georgia "will one day find leaders who are worthy of them, who will care for their country, and who will establish feelings of mutual respect among all peoples of the Caucasus."