Russian PM warns NATO admission of Georgia could trigger 'terrible conflict'

Russian PM warns NATO admission of Georgia could trigger 'terrible conflict'

Also on August 7, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili blamed Russian Federation for the 2008 conflict.

Dmitry Medvedev, speaking in an interview with the Kommersant daily broadcast by Russian state television, called NATO's plans to offer membership to Georgia in the future "absolutely irresponsible" and a "threat to peace", the Associated Press reports.

Foreign affairs chiefs from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine met in Georgia this week to take part in commemorations marking 10 years since Russia's 2008 invasion of the Caucasus Republic and reiterate hopes that the country could soon join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The Russian military quickly routed the Georgian army during the war.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini assured Georgia on Tuesday (12 June) that ten years after Russia's occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the European Union has not given up seeking a "true solution" to the conflict.

In an interview with RFE/RL on August 6, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who was president at the time of the conflict, said that Russia's motive in the five-day war with Tbilisi was to attack "Georgian statehood".

Prominent Georgian politicians are keen for their country to join the Western military alliance, but have seen their chances of joining hampered by Russian territorial incursions into the two breakaway territories - South Ossetia and Abkhazia. "Nowadays no country can change the borders of another country by force", said Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.

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Before the war, Russian officials had made clear that they vehemently opposed Georgia's efforts to achieve North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership under Saakashvili, and relations between the two countries were badly strained over issues including Moscow's support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Medvedev warned that NATO's attempt to embrace Georgia could have catastrophic consequences.

Under NATO rules, countries with territorial conflicts can not join the alliance. "Even with the occupation of 20 percent of its territory, Georgia has made very significant progress in implementing reforms and has become a reliable and exemplary partner of both the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", they said. "It could provoke a disgusting conflict".

During the night of August 7-8, 2008, Tbilisi sent in troops to try to retake control of its breakaway region of South Ossetia from Russia-backed separatists. "I hope that NATO's leadership will be smart enough not to take any steps in that direction", he said.

He added that "Russia's aggressive policy in the region, the lack of will to regulate the conflicts caused by the Kremlin, is a serious threat to post-war order in Europe and compliance with worldwide law".

"We reaffirm that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation remains the cornerstone of our security and collective defence, and that our countries stand firm in solidarity, committed to develop our cooperation to address better all security concerns and contribute to the Alliance's tasks".

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