Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev suggested on February 6, that President Saakashvili, whom he called “insane”, was well aware that the Russian military bases in Abkhazia and South Ossetia were capable of “inflicting incommensurable damage to any invader.”
“[Military bases] are now in such a condition that they are capable to protect these two small states and correspondingly the Russian interests too in the most powerful way. The weaponry, which is in place [on those bases], is enough to inflict incommensurable damage to any invader and they understand it, even insane Saakashvili understands it,” Medvedev said at a meeting with supporters in his Gorki residence outside Moscow.
Medvedev made the remarks after one of the participants of the meeting told him with regret, that although after the August, 2008 war Russia managed to secure international “informal arms embargo” against Georgia, situation was now changing with Georgia “restarting to buy arms from around the world”; this participant of the meeting also said that there were speculations about a trade-off – Russia turning a blind eye on Georgia’s rearmament and in exchange securing Tbilisi’s go-ahead for Russia’s WTO accession.
“As far as WTO is concerned – of course that’s nonsense,” Medvedev responded. “We have not been engaged in trade-off with anyone, including with Georgians. We have some trade issues with them [Georgia] and as you know at some point [in 2006] we have banned import of number of [Georgian] products [including wine and mineral waters], there were some other problems as well. I think that in frames of civilized dialogue we should build [trade] relations with our neighbors, restoring, where possible, trade turnover.”
“As far as militarization of Saakashvili’s regime is concerned, I have to say the following,” Medvedev continued. “To say the truth, this militarization has not been stropped even after the so called five-day war [in August, 2008]. Furthermore, we had information, that supply of various types of weapons continued through the U.S. administration and some other countries, by the way, including our close neighbors, immediately after [the war].”
“That’s way we had to reinforce military bases, which are located on the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. They [the military bases] are now in such a condition that they are capable to protect these two small states.”
Medvedev also said that “unfortunately, we can not prohibit other states to supply arms on the territory of Georgia.”
“We are openly speaking about it with leaders of some states; I have spoken specifically on this issue with them: ‘What are you doing? That’s simply dangerous’. But of course we can not completely prohibit that and we have to take it into the consideration in our policies,” Medvedev said, adding that lack of power to ban others to supply arms to Georgia was not in any way a sign of Russia’s weakness. “Don’t have any doubts about that; everything is ok.”