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Putin: No Guarantee that U.S. Will Not Deploy Missile System in Georgia (24.01.12)

There is no guarantee that the U.S. will not deploy its missile defense systems in Georgia and if it happens that will be “a horror”, because in that case Russia will have to aim its “offensive systems” at Georgia, Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin, said.

Putin made the remarks while meeting with a group of thirty editors of Russian media outlets in his residence in Moscow’s suburb on January 18.

No question on Georgia was asked, but Putin himself raised the issue, also mentioning the August, 2008 war, when he was asked on an unrelated topic involving Russia’s internal politics. In particular, Ekho Moskvy radio station’s editor, Alexei Venediktov, asked Putin whether he was ready to meet with representatives of recently established protest movement League of Voters, uniting a group of Russian intellectuals and celebrities, among others, novelist Boris Akunin, a pen name of Grigory Chkhartishvili.

Responding to this question, Putin said that he was ready for a meeting, but his opponents had snubbed his invitation; then he suggested that opposition views of one of the members of the League of Voters, Boris Akunin might be based on the August, 2008 war with Georgia because he was “ethnic Georgian”.

“You know there are various motives based on which people act,” Putin said. “For example, we all love writer Akunin. He writes very interesting things… As far as I know, he is an ethnic Georgian. I understand that he could not have accepted Russia’s actions during those events and crisis in the Caucasus, which in substance was the armed conflict between Georgia and Russia, when Russia had to protect South Ossetians and our peacekeepers, who were attacked and simply killed. A significant number of our people were killed there. What should we have done? I am sure, people, including ethnic Georgians living here in Russia and significant part of Georgians living in Georgia itself, understand motives behind our actions. And what should we have done? It was not us who violated provisions of the internationally agreed legal documents. What should we have done?”

“Secondly – I did not think we would have turned [our discussions] in this direction – you know there are debates over the problem of U.S. anti-missile defense system: it is permanently on the agenda. You know we are not indifferent towards where these systems will be placed – closer or far from our borders. We are not indifferent whether [U.S. missile defense system] will eventually emerge in Georgia or not. Should we aim our offensive systems at the Georgian territory? Can you imagine what it is, what a horror it is? But do we have any guarantee that it [deployment of U.S. missile defense system in Georgia] won’t happen? No,” he said.

“When we were telling our Georgian colleagues ‘let’s do this’, ‘let’s do that’, they were declining everything. Moreover they have committed such actions of aggressive nature against South Ossetia. What should we do? We are ready to find solutions together with the Georgian society if they want to talk with us. By the way, many [in Georgia] want [to talk], including in the Georgian opposition; they came to us, participated in groundbreaking [ceremony] of a memorial to Georgians fallen in the World War II – [they participated] both in groundbreaking and opening of this memorial. This is sign of respect towards the Georgian people on the part of Russia. I am sure it has not gone without being noticed by the part of the Georgian society. People just could not have left it unnoticed. Significant part of the Georgian diaspora living here also understands us,” Putin said.