Russian Federation warns of ‘horrible’ conflict if Georgia joins North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

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

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that any future North Atlantic Treaty Organisation decision to admit Georgia to its ranks could trigger "a bad conflict" and questioned why the alliance would consider such a move.

Medvedev said in an interview with the Kommersant FM radio station on August 6 that NATO's plans to eventually offer membership to Georgia were "absolutely irresponsible" and a "threat to peace".

The prime minister recalled that the 2008 armed conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia, which also involved Russian Federation, "was not inevitable" and "could have been prevented".

The Russian army was poised to advance on the Georgian capital, but Medvedev rolled it back, accepting a truce mediated by the European Union.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini assured Georgia on Tuesday (12 June) that ten years after Russia's occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the European Union has not given up seeking a "true solution" to the conflict.

In August 2008, following Russia's aggression against Georgia, the two breakaway northern regions declared independence.

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NATO now supports Georgia through the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, a set of initiatives that provides resources to strengthen Georgia's defenses.

"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.

Russian-Georgian relations have improved since the war, but the issue of the breakaway regions remains, preventing the full normalization of ties.

"There is an unresolved territorial conflict. and would they bring such a country into the military alliance?" he said. Only Russia and a handful of countries recognise South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent. "I hope that NATO's leadership will be smart enough not to take any steps in that direction", he said.

"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".

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking to Russian diplomats in Moscow, last week spoke out against what he said was NATO's attempts to deploy new bases and military infrastructure near Russia's borders.

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