7 Aug 2018 00:00

Georgian-S.Ossetian conflict was not unavoidable, it resulted of immoral, criminal actions of Saakashvili - Medvedev

MOSCOW. Aug 7 (Interfax) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is sure that the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict in 2008 could have been avoided, but the war resulted from "immoral and criminal actions" of then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

"No, it was not at all unavoidable. And I still think that there would not have been a war if not for the irresponsible, immoral and criminal actions of Saakashvili and his minions," Medvedev, who was Russia's president in 2008, said in an interview with the newspaper Kommersant dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Georgia-South Ossetian conflict.

"We managed to provide a counterbalance to these negative processes, statements and even sporadic violence [between Tbilisi on the one hand Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the other] until 2008," Medvedev said.

"But in 2008 the Georgian government led by the Georgian president gave the green light to aggression, and what happened, happened. But it was not unavoidable. It was the choice of Saakashvili and his team," he said.

Tensions had been running high between certain parts of then Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic even before 1991, he said.

"I remember going from Sochi to Abkhazia for the first time in 1990, when it was part of Georgia. As I talked with ordinary people in small restaurants and other places, I sensed their complicated attitude to the processes gathering momentum in the republic and to members of neighboring ethnic groups. In other words, tensions were growing at the everyday level. It came as a shock to me, because there was nothing of the kind in Moscow or Leningrad," Medvedev said.

"Therefore, the problem is rooted in the events of the 1990s, the decisions taken in Tbilisi then, which Abkhazia and South Ossetia did not accept. All of this led to a conflict and the deployment of [Russian] peacekeepers," he said.