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Putin demands clarity over occupied territories

By Temuri Kiguradze
Wednesday, September 2
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appealed to the international community to “choose” between supporting territorial integrity or the self-determination of nations in Poland on September 1.

On the anniversary of the German invasion of Poland Putin gave comments to Georgia’s Rustavi 2 TV channel in which he once again accused Georgia of conducting aggression against its breakaway region of South Ossetia.

“Abkhazia and South Ossetia recognised themselves [as independent states] long ago, that is why I don’t want to annoy and humiliate Georgia. Therefore, I want to say that the irresponsible actions of the Georgian Government led to those tragic developments [of last August]. I think if Georgia had not abolished the autonomies of these two regions [South Ossetia and Abkhazia] earlier and had not suppressed these regions nothing would have happened. Russia supported the territorial integrity of Georgia despite the fact that these republics had declared their independence long before, but Saakashvili’s policy changed the situation radically. We did not have any other choice and made the decision you all know very well,” stated Putin.

Answering a Georgian journalist’s question on why Russia had occupied Georgia, Vladimir Putin stated that “you call it occupation, however the minor nations of the Caucasus – Abkhazia and South Ossetia - call it liberation and independence.” He also criticised the position of the international community, which has condemned Russia’s invasion of Georgia and its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “We have a very clear strategy. The international community should either support one of the key principles of international law and protect the territorial unity of recognised states, or allow the problem of national self-determination to become the main issue,” concluded the Russian Premier.