Pro-NATO poster in Tbilisi, Georgia
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said today in Moscow during an interview with Kommersant FM radio station that acceptance of Georgia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization could leave to a ‘terrible conflict’. He reiterated that the war with Georgia in 2008, which resulted in the frozen-conflicts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, was not inevitable, and could have been avoided.
On July 12, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s intention to grant membership to Georgia. However, he did not say when it could happen. At the 2008 NATO summit held in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, member states pledged that Ukraine and Georgia would join the alliance in the future. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, stated that Moscow would view NATO’s further expansion, including the accession of Georgia and Ukraine, highly negatively, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
Russia sees the NATO alliance as creeping ever closer to its ‘near abroad’, meaning former Soviet territory. Russia has used this expansion as justification for military moves in Crimea, East Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, where Russian troops remain.
Recently the Russian foreign ministry spokesman slammed NATO joint drills with Georgian troops, “We cannot agree with the statements of the Georgian Defense Ministry that these drills are aimed at providing security in the Black Sea region. Stability and security mean constructive dialogue, not helicopters and tanks,” Maria Zakharova noted. “It is clear that their current task is to project power pressure, chiefly over South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Russia.” These exercises result in “bolstering military sentiments and the escalation of tensions,” she said, added TASS.