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Putin: Georgia’s S.Ossetia Move Blow to its Statehood
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Aug.'08 / 22:53

Speaking in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, on August 9, Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, questioned possibility of restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Below are remarks by Putin aired by the Russian television:

The actions undertaken by the Georgian authorities in South Ossetia are a crime, indeed.

And first of all, this is a crime against their own people, because these actions represent a deadly blow to the territorial integrity of Georgia, a huge damage to its statehood.  
It is difficult hard to imagine how it is possible to convince South Ossetia to join the Georgian state, after all what had happened and what is still happening there.

Time will come and the Georgian people will give an impartial assessment to the activities of its present leadership.

I think that it has become absolutely clear in Georgia, in Russia and in the entire world that the aspirations of the Georgian leadership to join the NATO is dictated not by the willingness to become a part of the global system of international security and make its contribution to strengthening of international peace, but this aspiration is dictated by other reason – by an attempt to involve other countries and other peoples in its bloody adventures.
 
As far as Russia is concerned, from legal point of view, our actions are absolutely well-founded and legitimate. Moreover, they are necessary.

In accordance with existing international agreements, including the 1999 agreement, Russia not only performs the peacekeeping functions, but is also obliged, in case of violation of the ceasefire agreement by one of the sides, to take the other side under its protection – that is what we have done in full accordance with these agreements, in this particular case, in respect of South Ossetia. This is a legal side of the matter.

But there is a political side of the matter as well.

The fact of the matter is that for centuries Russia has been playing a positive, stabilizing role in the Caucasus, as a whole. It was a guarantor of security, cooperation and progress in this region and nobody should doubt about it. 

At the same time, we are not going to impose anything on anybody. We understand very well in what kind of world we live. We will be striving for fair, peaceful settlement of all conflict situations, which we have inherited from the past. 

We call on the Georgian authorities to immediately stop aggression against South Ossetia, to stop violation of all previous agreements on peace and ceasefire and to respect the lawful rights and interests of other peoples. If someone wants to be respected, he should respect others.

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