Russian President Vladimir Putin described the arrest of four Russian officers by Georgia for alleged espionage as “state terrorism with hostage-taking,” a statement posted on the Russian President’s official web-site reads.
Putin made this conclusion following a meeting with the permanent members of the Russian Security Council on October 1, the statement says.
The Russian PM, speakers of the lower and upper chambers of the Russian Parliament, chief of the President’s Administration, the Defense Minister, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, the Foreign Minister, chief of the security service FSB, the Interior Minister, as well as chief of staff of the armed forces participated in the session of the Security Council, which discussed situation involving the arrest of four Russian officers by Georgia.
In his opening remarks Putin told the Russian Security Council that attempts are underway “to pinch and provoke Russia.” These remarks were broadcasted by television stations and also posted on the Russian President’s web-site.
“Despite the fact that Russia is consistently following its commitments to pull out our troops from the territory of the [Georgian] Republic, our servicemen have been captured and put in jail in Georgia. This is a sign of the legacy of Lavrenti Pavlovich Beria [chief of Soviet secret service in charge of Stalinist purges] both in domestic and foreign policy. This is a position they [the Georgian authorities] seem to adhere to,” Putin said.
“One thing is absolutely clear: there are attempts to pinch and provoke Russia as much as possible. This should be clear to everyone. And it seems that those who are doing this think that an anti-Russian stance in the foreign policy is in the interests of the Georgian people. I do not think so. These people think that they can feel comfortable and secure under the roof of their foreign sponsors,” the Russian leader stated.
“It seems that there are forces that simply focus on stirring new crises, hoping that this will overshadow older, already existing problems. Maybe, in a short-term perspective, it might have a certain effect. But it definitely won’t help to solve the old and very serious crises in the world,” he added.
After the session of the Security Council, Russian news agencies reported, quoting Putin’s spokesman Aleksey Gromov, that Putin instructed Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov to continue the process of troop withdrawal from Georgia despite Georgia’s anti-Russian policy.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has yet to react to Putin’s statement accusing Georgia of “state terrorism,” but officials in Tbilisi have already condemned earlier strong-worded statements of the Russian leadership, including those by Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov, as an “obvious threat to use force.”