Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Russia Sends More Troops to Georgia

Georgia accused Russia of fanning conflict on Tuesday after Moscow sent extra peacekeeping troops to Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region to counter what it called a military build-up by Tbilisi.

The Russian move marked a new escalation in a crisis between the two ex-Soviet neighbors that has alarmed Georgia's allies in the West, who see the ex-Soviet state as a future NATO ally and a vital transit route for energy supplies. The move angered Tbilisi, which accuses the Russian force there of siding with the separatists.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Russia's move had created a dangerous situation. "It is altogether obvious that this is part of a fast and worrying escalation of Russian measures for controlling territories," Bildt wrote on his blog. [More]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Russia Shoots Down Georgian Drone

(My apologies for the ad Reuters has embedded on the front end of the video. Just twiddle your thumbs for a bit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Georgia Accuses Russia over Abkhazia

Georgia has objected to a letter sent by the Russian Justice Ministry to Georgian and Abkhazian officials outlining plans to cooperate with the unrecognized republic of Abkhazian authorities in extraditing Russian citizens. Tbilisi accused Russia of attempting to “legitimize separatism” in a note of protest presented to Russian Ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko. Georgian Justice Minister Nika Gvaramia was the first to voice the country's objections, speaking at a special briefing that was broadcast live on all Georgian television channels. He claimed that Russia “rudely violated Georgia's sovereignty.”

The scandalous letter was sent to the Georgian Justice Ministry on February 5. Georgian officials did not explain why they objected to it only yesterday. A Russian Foreign Ministry official commented that Georgia “has objected to something that was previously taken to be obligatory.” [More]

Saturday, April 5, 2008

No MAP For Georgia or Ukraine, but NATO Vows Membership

Speaking at NATO's summit in Bucharest, Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the the granting of Membership Action Plans (MAPs) to Ukraine and Georgia would have to await further dialogue. But he added a sweetener, saying the alliance had agreed the two countries "will become members of NATO."

“Today, we make clear that we support these countries' applications for MAP," he said. "Therefore, we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP applications. We have asked [NATO] foreign ministers to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting."

Despite the postponed decision, pro-NATO forces in Ukraine and Georgia celebrated the announcement, which offered stronger-than-expected support for their entry bids.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said, "I think we should be very happy," and added that it appeared as though Georgia had "suddenly jumped over the technical stage" of an action plan with the promise of full membership. "MAP is not as important when you have a commitment to accept us as members," he said. "Here we got a 100-percent guarantee, at least formally, for membership. That's very unusual." [More]