Georgian and Russian presidents use Financial Times to debate conflict

The Financial Times is hosting a debate on its comment pages between the presidents of Russian and Georgia over recent conflict between the two countries.

Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, wrote in the FT on Tuesday this week about why Russia had decided to  recognise the independence of the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Medvedev criticised the west’s interference in the conflict, and wrote: ‘But the west, ignoring the delicacy of the situation, unwittingly (or wittingly) fed the hopes of the South Ossetians and Abkhazians for freedom. They clasped to their bosom a Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, whose first move was to crush the autonomy of another region, Adjaria, and made no secret of his intention to squash the Ossetians and Abkhazians.”

He went on claim that Russia had no option but to attack Georgia in order to save lives, and said it was ‘not a war of our choice”.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili responded to Medvedev’s comments in today’s FT, warning Europe that Russia had plans to ‘redraw the map of Europe using force.

He wrote: ‘This war was never about South Ossetia or Georgia. Moscow is using its invasion, prepared over years, to rebuild its empire, seize greater control of Europe’s energy supplies and punish those who believed democracy could flourish on its borders. Europe has reason to worry.”

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