Russia has announced it will take “concrete steps” to hinder any attempt by Georgia to rebuild its military capability, claiming it is “deeply worried” that its small neighbor might be preparing for yet another conflict. The stern words come as Vice President Joe Biden pays a visit to Georgia just ahead of the first anniversary of its war with Russia over South Ossetia.
Russia warned today it would not allow Georgia to rearm amid signs that the government in Tbilisi had actively sounded out the Obama administration about rebuilding the military during a visit by the vice-president, Joe Biden, on the eve of the anniversary of last year’s war.
Russia’s foreign ministry said it would take “concrete steps” to prevent Georgia from rebuilding its military capability, and served notice that it would sever military co-operation with any country that supplied arms to Tbilisi. It said it was “deeply worried” Georgia was preparing for another conflict, as tensions continue to rise ahead of the 7 August anniversary of last year’s brief war.
The stern warning from Moscow came after US officials indicated that Georgia’s president, Mikhail Saakashvili, had asked Biden for US help to rebuild his armed forces following last year’s crushing defeat by Russia. He had allegedly requested anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Another US official later denied the request had formally been made. Any request for arms is likely to embarrass the White House at a time when it is attempting to reset relations with Russia. US officials also disowned earlier comments that Saakashvili asked Washington to send monitors to the tense border regions with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.