Monday, August 18, 2008

Russian president pledges harsh response to aggression

KURSK, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - The president of Russia promised a tough response to any aggression against its nationals, saying his country was perfectly capable of doing so.
"If anyone thinks they can get away with killing our citizens and officers, we will not allow this," Dmitry Medvedev said. "Anyone who tries to do something of the kind will receive a crushing response, and we have all the capabilities for this - economic, political and military".
"Georgia launched an offensive to restore control over its separatist republic of South Ossetia on August 8. The majority of residents of South Ossetia hold Russian citizenship, and Moscow launched a massive operation to expel Georgian troops from the region and to reinforce its peacekeepers. "The act of aggression on the part of Georgia' authorities is unprecedented, it goes beyond understanding, when a country whose army has been equipped with another country uses its armed forces against civilians, against peacekeepers," the Russian president said.
However, he said Russia was seeking respect, not escalation of the international developments.
"We have always been a peace-loving nation. The Russian, Soviet state has never started a war. But even the most peace-loving state should have an effective army," Medvedev said.
Russian armored vehicles started to withdraw from the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali toward the Russian Republic of North Ossetia on Monday under a French-brokered peace agreement.
Medvedev signed the peace plan Saturday, the day after his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili.


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