Even as Russian military sources indicate its forces are in Georgia and are bombing “military bases” in that nation, President Medvedev ordered and end to the military campaign in Georgia and said the aggressors had been punished. There are now 9,000 Russian paratroopers in the breakaway province of Abkhazia and a senior Russian commander told the Moscow Times Russian forces would not move beyond Abkhazia or South Ossetia. Georgia claimed Russian troops had seized the military base in Senaki which was confirmed by an anonymous Russian government official who “confirmed the move into Senaki and said it was intended to prevent Georgian troops from concentrating.” Russian forces are clashing with elements of the Georgian army in the Kodor Gorge and have demanded their surrender but the Georgians continue fighting. In Moscow, President Medvedev claimed “we have completed a considerable part of the operation to force Georgian authorities toward peace in South Ossetia.”
Russia has refused to accept a cease fire agreement until Georgia withdraws all troops from the breakaway provinces. President Saakashvili agreed to a cease fire agreement drafted by foreign ministers of France, Finland and Georgia.
Prime Minister Putin took a harsh approach to the situation and blasted American policy under Ronald Reagan which supported Saddam Hussein’s attacks on Iran and the failure of the Bush administration in 1991 to halt Saddam’s destruction of Shiite villages. “If my memory serves m e right, it was Ronald Reagan who said in relation to one of Latin America’s dictators a while ago, ‘Somoza, of course, is a son of a bitch. But, he’s our son of a bitch. And we will be helping him, we’ll protect him.” The assumption of Putin’s remarks is that America supported Georgia’s invasion of South Ossetia and the killing of its citizens, and that America is a hypocritical nation which thinks it is OK if one of its “bitches” is oppressive and is supporting what Russia believes is an unjustified attack on innocent people.
There is no doubt Georgia initiated the attacks on South Ossetia which provided Russia an opportunity to flex its military muscles. The militant attitude of the Bush administration has created another victim in the form of dead Georgians. It is now clear Russia will not allow any further Georgian attempt to reassert control over the breakaway provinces and has sent a warning to the West that Russia once again has a powerful military force.