Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia's Medvedev Warns Of 'Horrible' Conflict If Georgia Joins NATO

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev speaks during an interview with Kommersant at the Gorki state residence outside Moscow on August 7.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has issued a stern warning to NATO on the 10th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war that Tbilisi's joining the alliance could lead to a "horrible" new conflict.

Medvedev said in an interview with the Kommersant FM radio station on August 6 that NATO's plans to eventually offer membership to Georgia were "absolutely irresponsible" and a "threat to peace."

Last month, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated support for Georgia's membership at a meeting in Brussels, but did not mention when that might happen.

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.

Additional Russian forces entered the territory from the adjacent Russian region of North Ossetia to back up the separatists and Russian troops that already were in Georgia's South Ossetia.

The Georgian forces were defeated in days. A peace treaty was finally hammered out by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

By the end of the conflict on August 12, several hundred people had died and Moscow subsequently recognized South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent states and has stationed military forces there ever since.


Russia Vs. Georgia: The War That Shook The Caucasus
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:04:08 0:00

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

On August 7, the European Union issued a statement praising the 10th anniversary of the truce it brokered between Georgia and Russia to end the war and calling the continuing Russian military presence in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a "violation of international law" and the truce.

"The European Union reiterates its firm support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders," the statement said.

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

The aggression against Georgia did not start in August 2008, but much earlier, in 1991-92, Margvelashvili said, when "Russia detached two regions from the Georgian central authorities by means of hybrid war." Margvelashvili was speaking at a meeting with the foreign ministers of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia in Tbilisi.

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."

Saakashvili said that Moscow was concerned because reforms had made the South Caucasus country a "role model" for others in the region.

Saakashvili: Russia Targeted 'Role Model' Georgia In 2008 War
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:01:36 0:00

With reporting by Kommersant FM, AP, and dpa