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A senior Georgian opposition leader on Thursday called on President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign after a European report blamed Tbilisi for triggering a war last year with Russia.
Nino Burjanadze, a former speaker of parliament and twice Georgia's interim president, said Saakashvili's "irresponsible and criminal actions" during the war had damaged Georgia's national interests and hurt its chances of building closer ties with the West.
"The report is yet more proof that we have an irresponsible and helpless leader who endangers the country's stability and leads the country to a dead end. There is no doubt that such a leader has no right to govern the country," Burjanadze said in a statement.
The Georgian side accused the Russian militaries of firing at the motorcade of Saakashvili and Kaczinski
...shooting at the motorcade of presidents of Georgia and Poland had been a provocation of the Georgian side. According to the Polish secret services, the fact that after the first series of firing, the Georgian protection members had not reacted at all testifies that fact. Moreover, it was reported that the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili at the moment of incident was "relaxed and smiling".
Poland’s Internal Security Agency has been paying attention to that fact that directly on the eve of the incident, a bus with journalists was let pass with an apparent aim of filming the forthcoming attack.
December 19, 2009
A mother and her 8-year-old daughter were killed in Georgia today when workers blew up a towering Soviet war memorial to make way for a new parliament building, authorities said.
The victims were killed by lumps of concrete sent hurtling into the courtyard of their home in the country's second city of Kutaisi, local media said. Reports said four other people were in a serious condition in hospital.
A mother and her 8-year-old daughter were the victims. Several other people were injured.
“According to the preliminary information safety measures were not met,” Murtaz Zodelava, the country’s chief prosecutor said and added that the investigation was ongoing.
The plan to demolish the WWII memorial also triggered the Russian Defense Ministry to announce in its statement that it was “concerned” about the decision and the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement that the plan demonstrated the Georgian authorities “disrespect” towards the WWII veterans.
The removal of a World War II monument in the Georgian city of Kutasi has led to the death of two people. Also, several people have been injured and remain in critical condition.
The 59-year-old candidate told the newspaper "Komsomolskaya" today that under his leadership, Ukraine will "not aspire to" blocs like NATO or the Collective Security Pact, which is composed of Russia and several ex-Soviet states.
Military-patriotic education in the schools will involve courses in civil defense and Georgia’s military history to “stimulating soldierly spirit” among pupils, Manana Manjgaladze, a spokesperson for the President, said on January 13.
President Saakashvili said on January 12, that Georgia should “definitely introduce military-patriotic education courses in schools.”
“It is necessary in order to help the children to at least understand many things about their country; and also as we have already seen, everything can happen, and Georgia and Georgians should be able to defend at least their village, their town or their district. This system is being created in Georgia that will enable us to involve each and every person in defending the country.
Former premier and opposition party leader Viktor Yanukovych is leading the presidential race in Ukraine, a Russian pollster said on Wednesday.
The Russian Public Opinion Center, or VTsIOM, also said its survey showed that voter turnout in the election due on Sunday is expected to hit 89%.
The pollster said 30.5% of those surveyed will back Yanukovych who is followed by current Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko with 13.9%. Ex-economics minister Serhiy Tyhypko outpaced the premier with 14.4%, according to the survey.
Former parliamentary speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk was supported by 5.6% of respondents, VTsIOM said. Incumbent leader Viktor Yushchenko comes fifth with 3%, the pollster said.
A runoff is widely expected as no candidate is likely to secure an outright majority in the first round. VTsIOM said 40.7% of respondents said they would vote for Yanukovych in the second round of the vote, 36.6% would back Tyhyprko, and 24.1% would support Tymoshenko.
Yatsenyuk and Yushchenko enjoyed the support of 15.3% and 5% of respondents respectively as candidates in the runoff.
The survey was conducted in Ukraine on January 3-10 and covered 1,200 respondents in 40 cities. The statistical error in the poll does not exceed 4%.
Yanukovych and Tymoshenko pledged to protest against the results if they lose the vote, echoing the 2004 mass street protests known as the "orange revolution" that brought Yushchenko to power amid election fraud accusations against Yanukovych.
Observers, however, said a repeat of rallies is unlikely as Ukrainians have grown tired of political infighting aggravated by the economic crisis.
MOSCOW, January 13 (RIA Novosti)
Temur Iakobashvili, Minister for Reintegration of Georgia, sees Russia's demand to sign a legally binding non-aggression treaty with Abkhazia and South Ossetia as inappropriate.
"It's like demanding Russia to sign the similar agreement with Tatarstan," he said in the course of TV bridge from Tbilisi.
He expressed hope that Russia "won't impede but rather support" the new strategy of Georgia in regard to the two regions.
He also noted that Russia "doesn't implement Medvedev-Sarkozy plan and continues occupation of the two republics."
Recently, government of Georgia endorsed strategic concept in regard to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The document is entitled "Inclusion via cooperation".
Iakobashvili, State Minister for Reintegration and Vice PM introduced it and said the document in detail describes Georgia's events in regard to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Iakobashvili said that Georgia refuses its isolation.
"Our citizens are there, they must be included in educational, cultural, social project, being implemented in Georgia," the State Minister said.
The presidents of Abkhazia and Russia signed a deal on Wednesday allowing a Russian military base in the former Georgian republic for 50 years, despite fierce criticism from Tbilisi and Western nations.
According to the agreement, the base will "protect Abkhazia's sovereignty and security, including against international terrorist groups."
Georgia has fiercely criticized the plans for the base in Abkhazia, which it considers part of its territory.
Kupalba said the new base, which would link several points across Abkhazia and accommodate at least 3,000 soldiers, including units from Russia's FSB security services, would be built "sometime in the near future".
Medvedev, who sat alongside Bagapsh at the signing ceremony, lashed out at Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president.
"I will not personally have any dealings with the current president of Georgia. For Russia, he is persona non grata," Medvedev said.
In a statement on Wednesday, General Alexander Zelin, Russia's air force commander-in-chief, said: "We have deployed the S-300 system on the territory of Abkhazia.
"Its role will be anti-aircraft defence of the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Russia says it has deployed S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in the breakaway region of Abkhazia in Georgia.
The deployment of the S-300s drew immediate protest from Georgia. The Foreign Ministry called it an "extremely dangerous and provocative step that presents a threat not only to the Black Sea region but to European security as a whole."
ROAR: “Enemies had better not fly to Abkhazia"
Published 12 August, 2010, 16:24
As Russia’s military announce the deployment of S-300s in the former Georgia’s republic, analysts say these air defense systems were deployed there two years ago.
Moscow has deployed an S-300 surface-to-air missile system in Abkhazia, Air Force Commander Col. Gen. Aleksandr Zelin said on August 11. He explained that the system has been deployed to ensure security of the republic and Russian military base located in it.
The system should defend facilities in Abkhazia, while the air defense means the Ground Forces are responsible for protecting facilities in South Ossetia, he explained.
Abkhaz Prime Minister Sergey Shamba said on August 11 that the deployment of the S-300s fully conform to bilateral agreements between Moscow and Sukhum. “It is a defense system,” he told Interfax. “It is meant to defend the Russian military base and the territory of Abkhazia and is not aimed against any third country,” he said.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has protested the move. It poses a threat “not only to the Black Sea region, but to security in Europe in general,” the ministry said in a statement.
Russia’s policy on S.Ossetia, Abkhazia to remain unchanged – Medvedev
Published 13 August, 2010, 16:27
Edited 15 August, 2010, 10:20
Moscow’s policy towards supporting South Ossetia and Abkhazia remains unchanged, President Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with his Ossetian counterpart Eduard Kokoity.
"There is not a single doubt, Russia's course is invariable, it has been achieved through much suffering," the Russian said, cited by itar-Tass. On Friday, Medvedev met with the South Ossetian president in Sochi.
Medvedev noted that August is a special month in relations between Moscow and Tskhinval. Last week, memorial events were held in the republics to mark two years since the bloody conflict in the Caucasus. On August 8, 2008, Georgian troops attacked the South Ossetian capital with artillery and tanks, starting a five-day war which left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee their homeland.
"I would like to reiterate that the commitments Russia undertook two years ago to protect South Ossetian, Abkhazian, and Russian citizens were not easy ones, and the subsequent two years have proved that they were necessary," Medvedev said.
“Recognition of Abkhazia and S. Ossetia prevented bloodbath” – Medvedev
Published 08 August, 2010, 19:27
Edited 09 August, 2010, 19:27
During his visit to Abkhazia, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev met with Russian tourists and discussed the 2008 Georgian-South Ossetian war and Russia’s subsequent recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with them.
Hundreds were killed and thousands displaced when Tbilisi attacked the republic with artillery and tanks two years ago.
Moscow sent forces to protect the people in the area, many of whom were Russian citizens. After five days of bloody battles, the Georgian troops were pushed back to the border.
Following the conflict in South Ossetia, Russia decided to recognize the independence of the republic, as well as the neighboring region of Abkhazia.
“The decision Russia made after the military conflict wasn’t an easy one. But time has shown it was the right move. The existence of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian people was at that time under threat. And if those decisions hadn’t been made – the situation would have been totally different. We wouldn’t be drinking coffee here. Most likely there would be a lengthy bloody conflict,” Medvedev said. “We were right in our actions, managing to both save the people and prevent a bloodbath.”
He added that he was glad to see life changing for the better in the region, and promised that Russia would continue to help with the reconstruction.
The next step is likely to be the resumption of direct air travel to Abkhazia, which was stopped after Georgia's war with the republic in the early 1990s.
ROAR: Medvedev’s visit to Abkhazia “marks Russia’s presence in the region”
Published 09 August, 2010, 15:49
Edited 09 August, 2010, 19:27
South Ossetia and Abkhazia have marked the two year anniversary of the 2008 conflict in the North Caucasus “with cautious optimism,” Russian media say.
As the two republics marked the anniversary of the 2008 conflict in the North Caucasus, President Dmitry Medvedev made a brief visit to Abkhazia on August 8. Speaking at the Russian military base in Gudauta, he said that “two years ago, Georgia provoked a bloody conflict, in which our citizens – peacekeepers deployed in South Ossetia and civilians – were killed.” He added that Russia was right in its actions, “managing to both save the people and prevent a bloodbath.”
South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity said on August 8 that the republic did everything to avoid the worst scenario of events and only called to arms on the day of Georgia’s attack.
In South Ossetia, the authorities decided to avoid large-scale celebrations, Kommersant daily said. “Nothing in Tskhinval showed that two years have past since the war that brought independence to the republic.”
Meanwhile, Kokoity reported “sensational information” that several Latvian deputies proposed to consider the recognition of the former Georgian republic, the paper said. It is a necessary step, Kokoity stressed, adding that “some Western countries allow the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s regime to feel its impunity.”
Medvedev suddenly arrived at Sukhum yesterday, Kommersant said, adding that “it was his first visit to Abkhazia since Russia recognized the republic’s independence.”
During his visit to Abkhazia, President Dmitry Medvedev “has marked Russia’s political and military presence in the region,” Kommersant daily said. “The president’s visit to Abkhazia is rather a political visit than a trip with a particular agenda,” a source in the presidential administration told Kommersant.
However, the visit provoked a tough reaction from Tbilisi, the paper said. The territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia had been recognized as occupied ones by Georgia, the country’s minister for reintegration Temur Yakobashvili said. “Such trips will change nothing and they will not bring something positive to the region,” the daily quoted him as saying.
Georgia marked the 2008 events on August 7, but President Saakashvili was in Colombia on that day to attend the inauguration of the new president Juan Manuel Santos, the paper said.
Lukashenko & Saakashvili merge in duet against Russia
Published 16 July, 2010, 15:36
Edited 29 July, 2010, 01:11
President Lukashenko, having lost ground in Moscow, has now turned to the Kremlin’s foes and is enjoying warm relations with his former critic Georgian leader Saakashvili. What could be behind this sudden mutual love?
As a gesture of goodwill to Tbilisi or as a way to irritate Moscow, on Thursday evening the Belarusian state TV channel showed “Timely Interview” with Minsk’s new friend Mikhail Saakashvili. The main focus, quite predictably, was on relations between Russia and Georgia. Saakashvili accused its neighbor of “imperial ambitions” and claimed they cannot understand what Russia wants.
Many see the move as Aleksandr Lukashenko’s retaliation against a scandalous documentary – “God Father (Bat'ka)” – shown on Russia’s NTV channel on July 4. The film portrayed the Belarusian president as a fierce dictator, oppressing and disposing of his opponents. Shortly after that, RT aired its report on “Europe’s last dictator.”
ROAR: Small chance for Belarusian president to change “inconsistent tactics”
The Kremlin has accused Lukashenko of inconsistency on the issue of the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as “the information war” continues.
The issue of the recognition of the two former Georgian republics has become another topic over which relations between Minsk and Moscow are deteriorating. President Dmitry Medvedev told journalists on August 3 that his Belarusian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko, had promised “solemnly” to do everything in the shortest possible time to recognize the former Georgian republics as independent states.
Lukashenko stressed on August 13 that his remarks had been distorted. He said he had only noted that “it is not a problem for Belarus to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But I also enumerated all the problems that Belarus could have with the European Union, the US, and the CIS because of this,” Interfax quoted him as saying.
However, Russian presidential aide on international affairs Sergey Prikhodko said Moscow could make public “the transcript of a CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] meeting that contains the Belarusian president’s words on this account…We could also publish Aleksandr Lukashenko’s other remarks, which might be quite interesting to both the Belarusian and international public,” he added.