TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia once again draws attention to an unprecedented Russian military exercise that is planned for September and will for the first time take place insidethe two breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
A foreign ministry spokesman Monday said, at this stage there is no reason to panic over the possibility of renewed Russian aggression. However, when it first became known that Russia planned military exercise Kavkaz 2012, Georgian officials did not exclude the possibility of another war with Russia.
Davit Jalaghania, Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister said today on traditional briefing that the military exercise “obviously” coincides with a parliamentary election in Georgia.
“This information never gave hope from the start. We are restlessly talking about this issue with our partners and international organizations and asking them to be aware and to adequately evaluate the event planned by Russian generals, which is very much like a previous period of Russian aggression in 2008,” Jalaghania said, with reference to a Russian exercise in the North Caucasus held immediately before the 2008 war.
Russia regularly holds exercises in the North Caucasus, but this year it will also take place in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both currently occupied by Russia. Furthermore, it will also encompass a military base inside Armenia, which has also never happened before.
The exact date for the election is not yet determined, but some officials find it suspicious that Russia is planning military exercises at the same time as an election is to be held.
Jalaghania says nothing can be excluded, but that there is currently no reason to set off a panic by saying that Russia will start another act of aggression.
“We can’t predict dates, but the rhetoric and a certain logical chain around this issue indicates that there is no reason to stand idly by, neither for us nor for countries that want stability in this region.”
The foreign ministry spokesperson says the return of Vladimir Putin as Russian president doesn’t give much grounds for optimism, and neither does the rhetoric heard from their officials and generals.