BRUSSELS, Belgium – Georgia is “very close” to a war with Russia, a Georgian minister said on Tuesday, citing Moscow’s decision to send extra troops to the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia.
“We literally have to avert war,” Georgian State Minister for Issues of Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili told a news briefing during a trip to Brussels.
Asked how close to such a war the situation was, he replied: “Very close, because we know Russians very well.
“We know what the signals are when you see propaganda waged against Georgia. We see Russian troops entering our territories on the basis of false information,” he said.
Russia has said the troop build-up is needed to counter what it says are Georgian plans for an attack on breakaway Abkhazia and has accused Tbilisi of trying to suck the West into a war — both of which are allegations that ex-Soviet Georgia rejects.
An extra Russian contingent began arriving in Abkhazia last week. Moscow has not said how many would be added but said the total would remain within the 3,000 limit allowed under a United Nations-brokered ceasefire agreement signed in 1994. Diplomats expect the reinforcement to be of the order of 1,200.
Georgia, a vital energy transit route in the Caucasus, has angered Russia by seeking membership of NATO.
Georgia’s hoping the E.U. will help them “reduce tensions” with Russia, but I’m betting the E.U. will leave Georgia out for the wolves, or the bear in this case.
Publius Pundit debunks Russia’s claims of “peacekeeping” in a great post that puts Putin’s actions in context:
Do you dare to imagine Russia’s reaction if NATO tanks and troops crossed the Russian border and took up a similar “peacekeeping” role in Chechnya? It’s simply inexplicable how Russians can demand that the world stay out of Chechnya and yet feel itself free to inject Russian forces into Georgia whenever it sees fit. A powder keg is brewing in Georgia and the Western governments are about to light the fuse. If they don’t immediately send a message loud and clear to Russia that it must respect Georgian borders, there will be an explosion.
Putin has two goals in Georgia: First, to destabilize it internally so that it does not qualify for NATO membership. Second, to nibble away at Georgia’s frontiers until Georgia is forced to respond militarily, then to invade and re-annex Georgia as a part of Russia, just as it was in Soviet times. After that, Ukraine will be the next target as Putin, a proud KGB spy, systematically seeks to recreate the USSR.
La Russophobe has plenty of reading for those of you wanting to catch up with Putin and his campaign to turn Russia into the U.S.S.R. 2.0.
G.S.G.F. has a great post about Russia’s deepening military ties with Iran which helps put Russia’s general aggression in Europe in a clearer light. Russia seems to be building up its superpower credentials again, and a quick and one-sided war against a former Soviet Bloc country would give Putin’s New Russia a nice boost.
Which reminds me, I’ve been concentrating on crime so much I haven’t been able to link to some of my favorite political blogs. Maybe I’ll start a World News Wednesday or something.
Hot Air has the news of Bush’s continuing blindness on this issue.