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Russia Comments on Georgia War Report


Accusing Russia Of Disproportionate Use Of Force In Aug 2008 Incorrect -Official

(Interfax-AVN) A high-ranking Russian military official has disagreed with a statement by an independent EU commission investigating the causes of the August 2008 war in the Caucasus that Russia disproportionately used force in that conflict.

"This interpretation is incorrect. We have still not received a coherently articulated explanation of this premise. No serious charges have been brought against us, except this vague formula," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a deputy chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, told Interfax on Thursday.

"During discussions, I have always argued that the proportion of actions should be compared with the use of the parties' combat potentials, and both military and civilian experts agreed with that," Nogovitsyn said.

Georgia had concentrated a group of 4,000 troops to attack the Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia in violation of its commitments, he said.

"These actions by Georgia were obviously inadequate. The Russian Federation's position that its actions were absolutely proportionate is very firm and legally balanced," he said.

EU Report on Caucasus War Has Ambiguities - Russian Foreign Ministry

(Interfax) The Russian Foreign Ministry welcomes the European Union commission's conclusion that it was Georgia that unleashed the aggression against South Ossetia in August 2008, but finds some of the wordings ambiguous.

"It is important that the international community does not miss again the chance to look deep into the conclusions, laid down in the European Union's commission," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary after the release of the Heidi Tagliavini commission's report.

"We understand, some of the blurred and ambiguous wordings reflect politicized approaches to the August events in 2008 and their aftermath, still maintained in countries of the European Union," the Foreign Ministry said.

"But this cannot overshadow the main conclusion about Tbilisi's responsibility for the aggression unleashed against peaceful South Ossetia and about Georgia's utterly illegitimate actions," it said.

Importantly, the report directly names the states, which were arming and training the Georgian armed forces, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"But serious queries arise about the part in the report on the allegedly disproportionate use of force by the Russian side. Although, arguments can be found in the report, which show that these assertions are far-fetched. Suffice to mention the conclusion by Georgian professor of law, Luchterhandt, a member of the Tagliavini commission and an independent expert, who said that Russia can justify its military operation against Georgia by the right to self-defense (Article 51 of the U Charter) and by the right to collective self-defense with South Ossetia against an armed aggression from Georgia," the ministry said.

"Giving due respect to the report's transparency and to its simultaneous submission to most of the parties concerned, we hope that the authors will find a proper formula for its transfer to representatives of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the more so since they are equally participating in the Geneva discussions on the Transcaucasus and are open to international contacts," the ministry said.

Russian Deputy Minister Praises War Report For Naming Georgia Arms Suppliers

(ITAR-TASS) The Tagliavini commission report lays the blame for unleashing aggression against South Ossetia squarely at Tbilisi's door, Russian State Secretary and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoriy Karasin told ITAR-TASS today.

"Most important, the report is evidence that Tbilisi, whose actions were illegitimate, bears full blame for unleashing aggression against South Ossetia," the diplomat stressed. "The document names the countries that helped to equip the Georgian army militarily, trained and armed the Georgian military, thereby creating the basis for aggression." "That is probably the most important result of the commission's work," he said.

"There are several ambiguities," Karasin said. "Questions arise over the part of the report devoted to disproportionate use of force by the Russian side." "This is strange," he continued. "Many experts have been saying for a long time that Russia used the right to self-defence in line with the UN Charter."

"When they speak of disproportionate force, it is important to understand that our army used force to suppress positions in Georgian territory that had previously been used for aggression against South Ossetia," the state secretary said.

At the same time, Karasin is convinced that "the EU commission report provides the whole of international public opinion with ample food for thought". "The issue is that the use of force to resolve any conflict situations always leads to tragedy and to results that are opposite to the ones desired," he explained.

"Such irresponsible ventures sometimes lead to the breakdown of a country's territorial integrity," Karasin said. "But even more frighteningly - to the escalation of international tension in general." "I hope that the right conclusions will be drawn from everything in the report and it will be properly studied by our international partners," the diplomat added.

In general, in the opinion of the state secretary, the document "has been handed over to representatives of various countries and organizations, including Russia, in a sufficiently transparent form". "Let is hope that it will be handed over to representatives of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the appropriate form," the diplomat said.

In general, Karasin is convinced that "the efforts of the commission were not in vain and the main findings are already clear". "What has been published allows any sensible person to draw the right fundamental conclusion about who started the aggression against South Ossetia," the diplomat concluded.

Karasin disagreed with the view of some media that, according to the report, Russia and Georgia equally share the blame for the tragedy of August 2008. "We had expected the most dishonest interpretations, but to say this (that blame should be shared equally) is simply to lie," he said.

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