Russia warns Georgia over Caucasus

Kremlin says it may resort to military action if war breaks out in neighbour.

    Russian involvement in the Caucasus is proving unpopular with the Georgian public [AFP]
    Georgia accuses Russia of trying to annex the territory by supporting separatist forces and encouraging residents to take up Russian citizenship. Most people in Abkhazia and South Ossetia have Russian passports.

    Kenyaikin's comments were Moscow's sharpest warning so far to Georgia in its standoff with the two breakaway regions.

    He said: "We don't plan anything of a military character, but should military conflicts break out on one side or another, then the initiator of these conflicts should be assured that Russia will take all possible measures to defend the interests of its countrymen and its citizens."

    Kenyaikin also alleged that Georgia was massing military forces along the administrative border that separates it from Abkhazia.

    The build-up "can only mean preparations for military action ... possibly in the near future. This can't be ruled out," he said.

    'No confidence'

    Kenyaikin is in charge of relations with former Soviet states, and said he has "no confidence" that Washington is working in any way to resolve the standoff.

    Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, initiated closer ties with both provinces, prompting international condemnation and outrage in Tbilisi.
      
    According to Georgy Baramidze, Georgia's deputy prime minister, Russia has "crossed the line" and committed "a dangerous and provocative act" which could "destabilise the whole region".

    Another flare-up occurred on April 20 when an unmanned Georgian spy plane was shot down. Georgia blames Russia, which says that Abkhaz rebels were responsible.
      
    Georgia's pro-Western government is trying to join Nato, but the unresolved conflicts in the two northern provinces are part of the reason that the alliance has decided to delay putting the ex-Soviet republic on the path to membership.
      
    Georgia says Russia is artificially stirring up the conflicts to weaken its independence, but Moscow accuses the Georgians of being the aggressors.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.