Latvia blasts Russian decision on Georgian regions

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers has strongly condemned Russia’s decision to recognize the independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the president’s press office announced Aug. 26.

Russia’s decision is in open contradiction to the United Nations Charter, U.N. Security Council resolutions and the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Zatlers said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev—referring to the same documents cited by Zatlers—said he supports the decision of his country’s Federation Council and State Duma to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The two regions in the north of Georgia share borders with Russia.

Medvedev, in an Aug. 26 statement, blamed Georgia for the latest conflict. Russian forces invaded Georgia on Aug. 9, a day after the Georgian military began an operation to regain control over South Ossetia. Russia says some of its peacekeepers stationed in South Ossetia were killed in the Georgian attacks.

“It stands quite clear now: a peaceful resolution of the conflict was not part of Tbilisi’s plan,” Medvedev said. “The Georgian leadership was methodically preparing for war, while the political and material support provided by their foreign guardians only served to reinforce the perception of their own impunity.”

Zatlers, however, said Russia’s decision is a gross violation of Georgia’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Latvia will continue to support Georgia’s territorial integrity and the Georgian people’s desire to see their country join the European Union and the NATO defense alliance, the president said.

Latvian Foreign Minister Māris Riekstiņš also blasted Medvedev’s decision and called for a political solution to the conflict.

Zatlers was not alone among European leaders in condemning Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on a visit to Estonia, joined Estonia President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in calling Russia’s actions an “illegal aggression against a sovereign nation,” according to the president’s press office. Later in the day, similar statements were made whe Merkel traveled to Lithuania to meet with President Valdas Adamkus.

“The withdrawal of Russian troops and the presence of EU peacekeepers,” Adamkus said, “would help regulate the conflict in Georgia.”

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

One thought on “Latvia blasts Russian decision on Georgian regions

  1. Ms Merkel called this an illegal act against a sovereign nation. Wasn’t Kuwait a sovereign nation when Iraq invaded? I guess it depends on who the invader is as to whether anyone will help the invadee. Not much in the way of principal here.

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