TBILISI AND ITS FOREIGN PATRONS CONDEMN VLADIMIR PUTIN FOR VIOLATION OF THE GEORGIAN TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY
Premier Putin’s visit to Abkhazia caused acid criticism abroad.
The European Union does not regard Vladimir Putin’s visit to Abkhazia as compatible with the principle of territorial integrity or promoting international efforts aiming at the regional stability, Sweden as the EU chair-in-office announced last Friday. The US Department of State made an analogous statement. “Russia has made commitments as part of the cease-fire agreement, and we hope that they will respect their commitments under this agreement,” State Department spokesman TJ Crowley said.
Putin went to Abkhazia on August 12 on his first visit since Moscow recognized it as a sovereign state in 2008. President Dmitry Medvedev visited South Ossetia, another republic recognized by Russia, in July. The United States called his visit “inappropriate”.
It was predictably in Georgia that Putin’s visit fomented a particularly heated response. “Russia ignores international law, its commitments, and its own state prestige,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said. Interior Minister Alexander Nalbandov announced that Russia’s promise of $500 million to Abkhazia for military purposes (and other actions for that matter) violated the Medvedev-Sarkozy agreements.
“Russia should take statements such as these in stride,” said Alexander Ostrovsky of the Duma. “No need to react. All this criticism merely reminds Russia that it has no friends in either the United States or throughout the European Union.” The Russian Foreign Ministry was unavailable for comments, yesterday.
The Abkhazian authorities pinned the blame for the explosions in Gagry and Sukhumi on Georgian secret services. The explosions took place on the day of Putin’s visit. No casualties were reported in Sukhumi. In Gagry, two were killed and three wounded.
“The Georgians have nothing to do with these explosion,” said Shota Utiashvili of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s Department of Analysis.