The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the new National Military Strategy of Georgia for listing Russian military bases and Russian peacekeeping troops among potential threats to Georgia.
In an information note issued on November 30 Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Kaminin described these assumptions as “absurd” and “unreasonable.”
This Military Strategy, which was recently posted by the Georgian Defense Ministry on its web-site, sets goals, threats and objectives held by the Georgian armed forces and serves as guidance for the armed forces’ structure and capabilities through 2010.
“Russian military bases [in Batumi, Adjara and Akhalkalaki] and Peacekeeping Troops within our territory have a history of provoking instability in the separatist regions and remain a threat. Until their complete withdrawal, this issue will require continuous attention. There will always be forces in the Russian Federation that will provide active support to separatist regimes using Russian bases within Georgia,” the document reads.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said that development of this kind of document is “a legal right of each state,” but some aspects of this document “trigger bewilderment.” He said that the Russian military bases have served as “a stabilizing factor” against the background of frequent political upheavals in Georgia.
“Russian military forces have never interfered in the internal affairs of the country and have always observed a firm neutrality. The recent clear example of this is [in regards to] developments in Adjara in May, 2004 [when ex-Adjarian leader was ousted as a result of peaceful demonstrations]. Moreover, Russian military bases play a positive role in respect to social-economic support for the population of the regions wherein these bases are located,” Mikhail Kaminin said.
He also said that as a result of an agreement reached this May by Foreign Ministers of the two countries, the Russian bases have begun the withdrawal process and it is “incorrect to throw ‘stones’ at the withdrawing troops.”
He said that allegations over Russian peacekeeping troops stationed in Abkhazia and South Ossetian are “even more unreasonable.”
“Georgian politicians need a fabricated Russian threat to justify their own political and economic failures, as well as to purchase large quantities of armaments and military hardware,” Mikhail Kaminin said.
He also alleged that despite commitments to solve conflicts peacefully, officials in Tbilisi continue to consider the possible use of force to tackle these problems.