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Medvedev defends his stance on Georgia

Latest update : 2008-08-27

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev defended his decision, in a comment piece in the Financial Times on Wednesday, to recognise the independence of Georgian rebel regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, saying it was grounded in international law.

LONDON - Moscow had no option but to recognise Georgia's
breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as
independent states, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
wrote in Wednesday's Financial Times.
 

The United States, NATO and European powers have strongly
condemned Russia's recognition of the regions, after it sent
tanks and troops into Georgia to push back the forces of the
Caucasus state.
 

"It was not a step taken lightly, or without full
consideration of the consequences," Medvedev wrote in the
London-based newspaper.
 

He said Russia had tried hard to prevent conflict in Georgia
but the West had helped provoke it by its handling of Kosovo.
 

"Ignoring Russia's warnings, western countries rushed to
recognise Kosovo's illegal declaration of independence from
Serbia," Medvedev wrote.
 

"We argued consistently that it would be impossible, after
that, to tell the Abkhazians and Ossetians (and dozens of other
groups around the world) that what was good for the Kosovo
Albanians was not good for them.
 

"In international relations, you cannot have one rule for
some and another rule for others."
 

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili bore the blame for
the conflict, Medvedev wrote.
 

"Only a madman could have taken such a gamble. Did he
believe Russia would stand idly by as he launched an all-out
assault on the sleeping city of Tskhinvali (in South Ossetia),
murdering hundreds of peaceful civilians, most of them Russian
citizens?"
 

He added: "Russia had no option but to crush the attack to
save lives. This was not a war of our choice. We have no designs
on Georgian territory."
 

Medvedev said that after South Ossetia and Abkhazia appealed
for Russian recognition of their independence, "a heavy decision
weighed on my shoulders".
 

"I sincerely hope that the Georgian people, to whom we feel
historic friendship and sympathy, will one day have leaders they
deserve, who care about their country and who develop mutually
respectful relations with all the peoples in the Caucasus.
 

"Russia is ready to support the achievement of such a goal,"
he wrote.

Date created : 2008-08-27

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