U.S.-Russian tensions growing over Georgia

The U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Stout has anchored off the Georgian port of Batumi for joint military exercises with Georgian coastguard vessels, the AP reports. Meanwhile, Russian jets flew over the Russian Black Sea port of Novirossiisk, watched by President Dmitry Medvedev, who yesterday made an official visit to Tskhinvali in the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of South Ossetia.

Commenting on yesterday’s visit by President Medvedev, Georgian Parliamentary Chairman David Bakradze said (my tr.):

“At a time when the whole of Europe is drawing up an agreement that is aimed at facilitating the diversification of energy supplies, at destroying Russia’s energy monopoly in Europe and at shaping the project that will supply gas to Europe bypassing Russia, the Russian President has made a visit to the occupied territory of Tskhinvali.

“This is not a choice and not a path by which Russia can respond appropriately to the events that are taking place in Europe and the world. I think today’s visit to Tskhinvali once again confirms the very sad fact that today there are people in power in Russia who have made the causing of harm to Georgia a part of their plan of action … The Russian President’s conspicuous visit to Tskhinvali is a step taken against the state of Georgia.”

Bakradze also said that the Russian leadership “was unable to give an answer in the presence of the United States President” to the support that Barack Obama declared in respect of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that “this is the form (the visit to Tskhinvali) they have chosen in which to express their position.”

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