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Tbilisi Protests Russia’s Military Exercises
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Jul.'08 / 18:53

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the recent military exercises launched by Russia’s North Caucasian Military District (SKVO) close to the Georgian border, is a continuation of Russia’s aggressive policy. 

Eight thousand personnel from the Army, the Interior Ministry and border guards of the Federal Security Service are involved in the military exercises code named Kavkaz-2008, which were launched on July 15. The Russian side said that “in connection with an escalation in tension in the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Ossetian conflict zones, issues related to involvement in special peace enforcement operations in the zones of armed conflict will also be worked out during the exercises.” On July 10 Colonel General Sergey Makarov, the commander of SKVO, said that Russia’s North Caucasian Military District was ready to provide assistance to Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia if needed.

“Not a single document on conflict resolution authorizes the armed forces of the Russian Federation to carry out any activities on the territory of Georgia,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on July 16. “Hence, the mentioned statements of Russian military officials cannot be considered other than a threat of military intervention and aggression against a sovereign state.”

Tbilisi claims that Russia’s “aggressive policy” poses a threat to peace and stability in the entire Caucasus region.

“They should understand in Russia that as a result of such a development of events, the increasing tensions and armed attacks in [Russia’s republics of] Chechnya, Ingusheti, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria between local rebels and Russian law enforcement agencies may spill into in a wide-scale destabilization, that, in our opinion, would not be in Russia’s interests,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said. “We insistently call on the Russian side to refrain from irresponsible statements and stop aggressive policy against Georgia.”

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