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Ray
03 Oct 06,, 18:20
Russia cuts links with Georgia releases

By Adrian Blomfield in Tbilisi
(Filed: 03/10/2006)

Audio: Adrian Blomfield in Tblisi

Russia imposed a land and air blockade on Georgia yesterday despite the country releasing four Russian officers whose arrest on spying charges has triggered the worst confrontation between the countries in years.

Police officers escort Russian soldiers
Georgian police officers escort the Russian soldiers to the prosecutor-general’s office in Tbilisi, where they were expelled

Ignoring appeals to calm the worsening crisis in the south Caucasus, the Kremlin decided to sever all travel and communication links with its southern neighbour. The move dampened hopes that Georgia's decision to hand over the men could defuse the grave altercation between the two ex-Soviet states.

President George W Bush telephoned Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, to express his dismay over the situation but was warned not to interfere, according to officials in Moscow.

The fighting talk in Moscow was in stark contrast to the more emollient tone struck by Georgia's pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili in the 24 hours preceding the climbdown that resulted in the four Russian soldiers winning their release.

Five days after their detention, the handcuffed officers — three colonels and a major — were brought to the prosecutor-general's office in central Tbilisi, arriving in separate police cars. Each was marched by police officers to the building's forecourt where they were formally expelled from the country.

They were then handed over to representatives of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and driven to Tbilisi's airport from where a Russian military aircraft flew them to Moscow.

Despite initial concern in the West over what was seen as a potentially provocative act in detaining the men, European officials warned Moscow that they now expected a reconciliatory response to defuse the crisis.

Karel De Gucht, the OSCE's chairman, said: "I explicitly call on Russia to respond in a similar way with gestures to decrease the tension rapidly."

Continued Russian implacability risks provoking international condemnation and could further sour already worsening relations between Moscow and the West.

Even before the blockade, the Kremlin's response was viewed by many as excessive. It withdrew its ambassador from Tbilisi, evacuated its diplomatic staff, imposed a visa ban and placed its troops in Georgia on high alert, raising fears of a military confrontation.

Russia's relations with Georgia have been sporadically poor since the collapse of the Soviet Union but deteriorated since Mr Saakashvili rose to power during the Rose Revolution of 2004 that unseated the reluctantly pro-Moscow president Eduard Shevardnadze.

Since then, Mr Saakashvili has clamped down on corruption, bolstered ties with the West and has announced his intention to seek Nato membership for Georgia.

He has also enraged Kremlin hardliners by attempting to resolve the status of two pro-Moscow separatist enclaves that broke away from Georgia in the early 1990s.

Sometimes seen as a hot-blooded maverick, Mr Saakashvili has attempted to reverse roles with Mr Putin, who likes to portray himself as a cool and rational voice. "We all need to calm down," the Georgian president said yesterday.

The strategy seems to be working. "By and large, Georgia seems to have won by demonstrating goodwill while Russia is stomping its feet," said Dmitry Oreshkin, director of Mercator, a Moscow think-tank.

Mr Saakashvili, though, has still managed to get his point across — insisting that the Russian officers were guilty of spying and portraying his country as the victim of years of Kremlin bullying.

"I think the message to our great neighbour Russia is: enough is enough. We can't be treated as a second rate back yard to some kind of re-emerging empire."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=KHOVIBIXOGHIZQFIQMFSFGGAVCBQ 0IV0?xml=/news/2006/10/03/wgeorg03.xml

Russia fights back?

It would be interesting to note how the US and Europe view this development.

Stand by for a bleak and cold Ukrainian winter!

smilingassassin
04 Oct 06,, 10:27
Gee whats next, Luxemburg expells Russian spy's and they get nuked? They can't handle the fact they got caught snooping around where they shouldn't be....

canoe
04 Oct 06,, 10:58
The Russians are just throwing a tantrum because they don't want pro-western democractic NATO member countries in their backyard.

Sad reality is parts of the Russian military and government haven't figured out NATO doesn't have any interest in them anymore and have long since moved on.

NATO's far more preoccupied with Afganistian and terrorist organizations these days.

sukhoi
04 Oct 06,, 11:51
Things are going too hot:tongue:

VovaLee
04 Oct 06,, 13:09
http://news.messages.yahoo.com/bbs?action=l&mid=&board=37138459&sid=37138459&tid=aprussiageorgia&start=1

WHY IS THE RUSSIAN ARMY IN ATLANTA?
I HAD NO IDEA RUSSIA HAD TROOPS IN GA
WHY ARE PUTIN'S TROOPS IN ATLANTA?
RUSSIA JOINS THE CONFEDERACY!
SEND IN THE ATLANTA FALCONS!
IF THEY DON'T LEAVE GA, I'LL HELP THEM
US TROOPS IN M.E., SOVIET TROOPS IN US
HOPE THEY DON'T ATTACK ATLANTA!!!!!!!!

.......

:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

Alex_Ivanov
05 Oct 06,, 00:27
Well... This blockade was planned long ago, arrest was just an occasion. I personally support it - one can't spit in the well and drink water from it at the same time. "Western-oriented" Georgians whose money transfers make 20% of Georgian GDP, should go to work in US instead and send money to Georgia from there.

Also, I do not understand why do we still sell them gas. They aren't able to pay even half-price for it. We're just wasting valuable resource for nothing. Let them find it elsewhere or use wood for heating.

Alex_Ivanov
05 Oct 06,, 00:31
http://news.messages.yahoo.com/bbs?action=l&mid=&board=37138459&sid=37138459&tid=aprussiageorgia&start=1

WHY IS THE RUSSIAN ARMY IN ATLANTA?
I HAD NO IDEA RUSSIA HAD TROOPS IN GA
WHY ARE PUTIN'S TROOPS IN ATLANTA?
RUSSIA JOINS THE CONFEDERACY!
SEND IN THE ATLANTA FALCONS!
IF THEY DON'T LEAVE GA, I'LL HELP THEM
US TROOPS IN M.E., SOVIET TROOPS IN US
HOPE THEY DON'T ATTACK ATLANTA!!!!!!!!

.......

:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:


LOL! Who the hell cares where Georgia we're speaking about is? :)

Tronic
05 Oct 06,, 01:52
Also, I do not understand why do we still sell them gas. They aren't able to pay even half-price for it. We're just wasting valuable resource for nothing. Let them find it elsewhere or use wood for heating.

yes... the Ruskie can and should sell gas to countries shifting out of Russian influence at the market level price...