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Russia says Georgian move for South Ossetia was ’like 9/11’

Russia says Georgian move for South Ossetia was ’like 9/11’

Jon Swaine
London Telegraph
August 14, 2008

Georgia’s attempt to reclaim South Ossetia has been compared with 9/11 by Sergei Ivanov, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister.

Seeking to justify Moscow’s overwhelming response to Georgia’s attempt to reassert itself over the breakway province, Mr Ivanov said that Russia had no choice but to take military action, just as the US felt bound to respond after the attacks by al-Qa’eda on New York and Washington in September 2001.

“We just reacted because we didn’t have any other option. Any civilised country would act same way. I may remind you – September 11th, the reaction was similar. American citizens were killed. You know the reaction,” Mr Ivanov said.

International condemnation for the Russian response had taken Moscow by surprise, according to Mr Ivanov. “We didn’t think that we annoyed anybody,” he said.

Mr Ivanov also rubbished comments by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary. Mr Miliband earlier accused Russia of engaging in “19th Century forms of diplomacy” in its “blatant aggression” towards Georgia. He said “the sight of Russian tanks rolling into parts of a sovereign country on its neighboring borders will have brought a chill down the spine of many people, rightly”.

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Russia had no choice but counterattack in S.Ossetia – Gorbachev

RIA Novosti
August 13, 2008

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Russia had no choice but to launch a counterattack to Georgia’s offensive in breakaway South Ossetia, but it is still possible to find a political solution to the crisis.

“What happened on the night of August 7 is beyond comprehension,” Gorbachev said in an article The Guardian published on Wednesday. “The Georgian military attacked the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali with multiple rocket launchers designed to devastate large areas.”

“Russia had to respond. To accuse it of aggression against ’small, defenseless Georgia’ is not just hypocritical but shows a lack of humanity,” he said in the article.

“Nevertheless, it was still possible to find a political solution. Clearly, the only way to solve the South Ossetian problem on that basis is through peaceful means. The Georgian leadership flouted this key principle,” Gorbachev, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said.

Gorbachev told the paper that the Georgian authorities could only undertake the offensive “with the perceived support” of a much more powerful force – an apparent reference to the United States, which has trained Georgian troops and backed the country’s bid to join NATO.

Now that the military assault has been routed, Gorbachev said, “the Georgian government and its supporters should rethink their position.”

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