The Russian’s are in control of Georgia’s naval base at Poti. And they are sending vessels to the area, including the missile cruiser Moskva and two smaller craft on “peacekeeping” duties at the port of Sukhumi on the coast of Abkhazia, the breakaway region that the Kremlin recognised as independent on Tuesday.
The US Coastguard ship Dallas was due to visit Poti but has been sent instead to the southern Georgian-controlled port of Batumi to deliver relief supplies. This has caused raised eyebrows in Russia – they consider it most unusual for a NATO ship to be delivering aid under the circumstances.
“Let’s hope we don’t see any direct confrontation,” said Dmitri Peskov, spokesman for the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin. Putin who, you may remember, was the president who destroyed entire cities in Chechnya to defeat rebels there. It is hard to believe that he suddenly dislikes confrontation. The military victories of the past weeks are extremely popular in Russia. So the government may well decide they’re on a roll, and go for the big one – a head-to-head with NATO and the USA.
Last week, president Dmitri Medvedev said that Russia would be within its rights to attack Poland since America had sited missiles there. He actually talked of a nuclear strike on a NATO member state! And Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko is saying that if someone doesn’t stop Russia, any country could be the next target.
Any country. Even the USA. Russia respects only the powerful. And America doesn’t seem powerful at all right now, bleating about how invading Georgia was “wrong”. Wake up, USA! The rights and wrongs don’t matter now – Georgia’s being carved up, and talk won’t stop it. Only action will count now.
So what should America do? Stand by and let Russia conquer its neighbors? Or get into a war that might go all the way?
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