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Putin defends Russian attack on Georgia

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin insisted Thursday that Russia has no intention of encroaching on the sovereignty of Georgia after a brief war that left Russian troops in firm control of two breakaway regions.

Putin also aggressively defended the decision to invade Georgia, saying Russia had to act after Georgia attacked South Ossetia on Aug 7.

"In this situation were we supposed to just wipe away bloody snot and hang our heads?" he asked a visiting group of Western scholars and journalists over lunch.

Putin often uses earthy language when he wants to make a point, and the contents of noses are a favorite image.

Striking out at the West for questioning Russia's use of overwhelming force, he said Russia could not have been expected to use a "pocket knife" or "sling shot" to counter Georgia's U.S.-trained army.

"When tanks, multiple rocket launchers and heavy artillery are used against us, are we supposed to fire with sling shots?" Putin asked his Western visitors. "What is an adequate use of force?"

But his comments came as an international human rights group said Georgia's assault was far less deadly than had been asserted.

Fewer than 100 civilians died in South Ossetia during last month's war, Human Rights Watch said Thursday. Russia and its South Ossetian allies have contended some 1,500 civilians were killed in the region.

Putin also said the West was wrong to claim Russia has imperial ambitions. Russia has "no wish or grounds to encroach on the sovereignty of former Soviet republics," he said.

Putin spoke as Russia rushed to counter claims that it intended to annex South Ossetia.

Speaking to the same group of Western experts earlier in the day, South Ossetia's leader, Eduard Kokoity, said that union with Russia was his region's goal, a statement that threatened to undermine part of Russia's justification for military intervention.

Kokoity quickly reversed himself.

"I have probably been misunderstood," he was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. "We are not going to relinquish our independence, which we won at the cost of colossal sacrifices, and South Ossetia is not going to become part of Russia."

Russia recognized South Ossetia as an independent nation, along with another separatist region, Abkhazia, after last month's war with Georgia over the regions. Both have had de-facto independence for more than a decade since breaking away from Georgian control during fighting in the early 1990s.

Many have expected that Russia would ultimately seek to absorb South Ossetia and unite its residents with their ethnic brethren in North Ossetia. Kokoity acknowledged as much Thursday.

"Yes, many in South Ossetia are talking about reunification with North Ossetia within Russia, and nobody can ban expressing such ideas," he was quoted as saying.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was quick to counter Kokoity's initial statement.

"South Ossetia is not intending to link up with anybody," he told reporters in Warsaw, Poland. "They have understood that without a declaration of independence, they cannot ensure their own security."

War broke out after Georgian troops launched an offensive to retake South Ossetia. Russian forces then routed Georgia's military and drove deep into Georgia.

Russia has agreed to withdraw all its troops from positions outside Abkhazia and South Ossetia within about a month, but has said it will keep 7,600 soldiers inside the two regions.

Russian annexation of South Ossetia would infuriate Georgians, who remain determined to bring both regions under government control.

It would also weaken Russia's arguments for invading South Ossetia, by giving the impression that Russia had been seeking to absorb South Ossetia all along.

Georgia's president, Mikhail Saakashvili, said Thursday that Russia invaded his country to derail its bid to join NATO, a move that angered the Kremlin. He urged the alliance not reject Georgia, warning that showing weakness would encourage further Russian aggression.

"If NATO sends a sign of weakness — and clearly this invasion was intended to deter, to scare NATO away — if NATO gets scared away, then this will be a never-ending story," Saakashvili said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he is considering setting up peacekeeping missions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The possibility, Ban said, comes after "almost daily contact with world leaders" on the Russian occupation of Georgian territory weeks after last month's five-day war.

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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goodDonkey; At present there is no need to bomb Russia. The most likely case would be N Korea, who has a deluded regime that cannot be trusted.

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ColAmerica

Doesn't it just make you sick to see those nuclear weapons we have in America getting all dusty. Since we are so strong and have the best nuclear weapons we need to use them. Russia's nuclear weapons are either fake or don't work anyway.

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ColAmerica; great post dude!!

Putin better do as Uncle Sam oreders or missiles are gonna be raining down on Moscow. Hahaha.. We are like Bush and McCain, we will not be bullied, we will fight back and win.Just look at what we did to bully boy Saddam.

The liberals on here are too scared of the Russian rats, they are appeaser weaklings.

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The troops will come from our hundreds of thousands in reserve - Already serving their rotations to Iraq.

our closets ally Great Britain. - After Iraq, I don't bank on it. Especially when it becomes another unilateral action.

Our allies will join us - Our allies have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They've seen how poorly george bush has handled his wars so far, they ain't getting involved.

Obama will negotiate and there won't be numerous deaths.

John McCain will swing his little fist and declare we're all Georgians. < :-)

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adaydream- The troops will come from our hundreds of thousands in reserve and from our closets ally Great Britain. putin would be squashed like a bug under foot.

Regime change in Rusia, may be a possibility if Putin doesn't change his ways.

Our allies will join us, as Russia is viewed as a bad guy by developed nations, it is only liked by rogue states.

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ColAmerica - Try it again buddy and feel the full force of US military action in your own backyard.

And these troops that will be used, as you put it, the full force of US military action in your own backyard. will come from where? Afghanistan or Iraq? Maybe Korea or Japan or Germany. Are you or the one who haven't served yet all going to enlist? You'd better, cause there ain't the troops needed to repel what came into Georgia alone, let alone the full force of the Russians. < :-)

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well put Donkey. I also agree that it will never happen.

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I actually differ with many liberals on the Russian attack on Georgia. I have refrained from giving my opinion up until now. I am not trying to change others opinion just want to voice mine. I know that the Georgians and Ossetians have committed vile acts on each other. I believe the Kremlin has been using the FSB, since Putin was president, to destabilize the region inside Georgia. I admit I have absolutely no proof of this but I am sure of it. Russia issued passports to be able to claim in the future that they were protecting Russian citizens. Terrible things have occurred between the Georgians and the Ossetians over the years and I would encourage readers of this thread to do some research on the matter. I was aware from the beginning that Georgia took the first action. However Georgia should have been viewed as a sovereign nation and Russia violated Georgia's sovereignty. I am not tied to a position on the liberation of territories from their original national structure. I am for it with Kosovo, I don't know what to think with Chechnya and I think the break up of Czechoslovakia turned out very well. But on that note I will end because if Russia wants South Ossetia to be free from Georgia then why not add North Ossetia now within the borders of Russia; recognize all of Ossetia as an independent nation. Declare a free Ossetia instead of a free South Ossetia. It will never happen. I believe it was a Russian ploy and I am glad to see it has hurt Russia financially.

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Bully boy Putin can defend the genocide as much as he likes. Try it again buddy and feel the full force of US military action in your own backyard.

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A separate survey showed that if Russians were allowed to vote in U.S. polls, they would prefer Democrat Barack Obama to Republican John McCain.

Okay, yet another reason for me to vote for McCain. Any more?

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South Ossetia needs to go through period of proven independence, like Texas did.

--Cirroc

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Reuters, unlike america's corporate media, understands the real world:

"Russians Like Putin and Obama, Polls Find"

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would triumph over President Dmitry Medvedev if presidential polls were held this weekend, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

A separate survey showed that if Russians were allowed to vote in U.S. polls, they would prefer Democrat Barack Obama to Republican John McCain.*

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Here's another news article. U. S. Intellegence agrees that Georgia attacked first. This must have been difficult for Washington. < :-)

http://www.kommersant.com/p-13183/r_538/Russia_Georgia_conflict_U.S._hearings/

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Somehow bush always wins.

I dont get it.

Kos is saying this showed up in the Financial Times:

"Vladimir Putin admitted on Thursday that foreign capital inflows could fall by up to 45 per cent this year, but rejected suggestions that turmoil in Russia’s financial markets was caused by the conflict in Georgia."

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Don't forget that Georgia attacked South Ossetia first.

Georgia used Cluster Bombs on South Ossetia. And Russia went overboard.

http://www.regnum.ru/english/1049025.html

It appears that Georgia overstepped it's boundary and Russia slapped the snot out of them. < :-)

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It was just a tit-for-tat for what happened with Kosovo and the fact that Georgia is cosy with the "west". Of course souvereign countries have the right which side they want to choose, but bearing in mind the nature of the Russian government, suspicious about anything, more prudence should have been observed. Also, these Russian "peace keepers" in South-Ossetia did nothing to contain those bands of rebels hitting on Georgians living there. Besides, these two regions in Georgia are autonomous, but nevertheless still a part of Georgia. The people of Cheznya were also so eager about becoming a part of Russia (again), that they fought two wars about it...

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Russia has “no wish or grounds to encroach on the sovereignty of former Soviet republics,” he said.

Then their desire to join NATO should be irrelevant to him.

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