AKHMAJI, Georgia — Russia’s foreign minister has suggested that Georgia’s U.S.-backed government staged a shooting incident near a motorcade carrying the presidents of Poland and Georgia in order to discredit Russia and South Ossetia.
The shooting late Sunday stoked anger months after Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over the separatist region of South Ossetia. The August conflict worsened Moscow’s relations with the West.
It also left South Ossetia entirely under the control of separatist forces and Russian troops. Before the war, Georgian forces held parts of South Ossetia.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has blamed Russian troops for the gunfire that broke out as he and Polish President Lech Kaczynski were travelling near a roadblock at the edge of South Ossetia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there was no gunfire from Russian or South Ossetian positions, and he suggested Georgia engineered the incident to discredit Russia and South Ossetia, Russian news agencies reported.
"This is a provocation, clearly," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying late Sunday in Peru, where he was accompanying President Dmitry Medvedev. "It’s not the first time something like this has happened: They organize everything themselves and then blame the Russian or Ossetian side."
Russia and Georgia have accused each other of starting the August war, which began with a Georgian artillery barrage on the South Ossetian capital.
Georgia says the assault was prompted by Russia sending a massive troop contingent into South Ossetia. But Russia denies that and in turn accuses Georgia of a brutal action targeting civilians.
I remember specifically that all the news was reporting that Georgia was shelling the hell out of civilians and the capital that was unprovoked, then the reports came in about Russia peacekeepers being killed.... .then the Russians laid the smack down on Georgia..... so how the hell can they still sit there and lie their asses off about the facts?
It's like a kid who walks up to your TV, smashes it in with a baseball bat and then stands there looking all innocent and acts like he didn't do it..... it's just stupid.
"Georgia’s authorities thought it possible to resolve this country’s territorial integrity problem by using Stalin’s principle that is well known in our country: ‘no man, no problem’," Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday.
Kaczynski said Sunday that the shots were fired from only about 30 metres from the motorcade. He said it was not clear if the gunfire was aimed at the motorcade or shots were fired into the air.
"I know from their shouting that they were Russians," Kaczynski said.
Oh but they sounded like Russians? Yeah, and I bet if I try hard enough I could pass as a frenchman.