Russia Warns of Severe Consequences if Georgia Joins NATO

A man leads a cow in front of an Abkhazian tank in the remote Kodori Gorge region

"Georgia joining to NATO could trigger terrible conflict" - English - on B92.net

The Russian military invasion of Georgia started on August 7, 2008.

On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told radio station Kommersant FM that any future North Atlantic Treaty Organisation decision to admit Georgia to the Alliance "could provoke a awful conflict". It is an absolutely irresponsible position and a threat to peace, ' said Medvedev.

Russia's prime minister said Tuesday that any attempt to bring Georgia into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would risk "horrible" conflict. The Russian military quickly routed the Georgian army during the war.

Additional Russian forces entered the territory from the adjacent Russian region of North Ossetia to back up the separatists and Russian troops that already were in Georgia's South Ossetia.

Prominent Georgian politicians are keen for their country to join the Western military alliance, but have seen their chances of joining hampered by Russian territorial incursions into the two breakaway territories - South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian Federation has strengthened its military presence in both regions and recognized them as independent states, but only a few countries have followed suit.

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But since 2008, when North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders promised Georgia it would one day join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Western dream of the small Caucasus country has been a source of anger for its northern neighbour Russian Federation.

"Together with the Georgian authorities, we would like to remind the world about the violation of Georgia's independence, the tragedy of thousands of families expelled from their homes, hundreds of people killed and wounded", Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said. However, countries with ongoing territorial conflicts can not join the Alliance, according to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation rules. Medvedev said. "Do they understand the possible implications? It could provoke a awful conflict". Only Russia and a handful of countries recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent. Therefore, I hope that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leadership will have enough sense not to take any steps in this direction'.

The Russian prime minister described NATO's eastward expansion as a major security threat to Russia.

"We reaffirm that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation remains the cornerstone of our security and collective defence, and that our countries stand firm in solidarity, committed to develop our cooperation to address better all security concerns and contribute to the Alliance's tasks". "We can't help getting anxious when the circle around our country keeps narrowing as more and more countries join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

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