Meanwhile, in Old Yurp...
I know there's a big party going on in Denver, but things seem to be equally hoppin over on the other side of the pond. Cheney is going over there, and that makes me worried. Russia says 'bring it on, bitches! We've got your oil/gas, and can turn it off anytime.
The G7 — Britain, the US, France, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan — said in a statement released by the US State Department: “We deplore Russia’s excessive use of military force in Georgia and its continued occupation of parts of Georgia.”
For now, US help has been confined to delivering aid to Georgia by sea and air, but with Russian troops and tanks still occupying parts of Georgia, US military planners are now openly considering how to rearm Georgia’s forces, which fought as allies of the US in Iraq. “Down the road we will be looking at what may be required to rebuild the Georgian military \ right now the mission of the United States military is to provide humanitarian assistance,” a Pentagon spokesman said.
A former British ambassador to Tbilisi said that Nato might have to send troops to the region. Donald McLaren, who was Ambassador to Georgia from 2004 to July last year and is now retired, told the Today programme on Radio 4: “I think we shouldn’t be too complacent or too scared in a situation like this.”
He suggested that a peacekeeping force made up of troops from the US, Britain, France, Germany and Russia should be sent to Georgia to replace the Russian units. If Moscow rejected such a proposal, he said, Nato had only two choices: “To give up and surrender and say to the Russians, ‘It’s your backyard, you’ve won’, or to put men on the ground to protect Georgia’s sovereignty and the east-west oil and gas pipeline from the Caspian and Central Asia.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that there was no prospect of troops being deployed to Georgia.
Nato diplomatic sources said that no one within the alliance was speaking about sending troops. “We have no mandate to act in the Caucasus,” a source said. Even the European Union, which is to hold a summit next month, has downgraded its most likely response to the Russian military presence in Georgia from deploying peacekeepers to sending observers.
Masha Lipman, of the Moscow centre of the Carnegie Endowment, told Today that Russia was in a belligerent mood and that if the West sent a force into Georgia, the situation would escalate.
The Ministry of Defence has decided to postpone a military exercise in Georgia involving the Territorial Army and the Georgian Army. The exercise, planned for next month, was to help the Georgians with peacekeeping. The MoD said that the Georgian Defence Ministry had requested the delay because of the current situation.
Countdown to the crisis
August 7 Georgia sends troops into breakaway region of South Ossetia
August 8 President Saakashvili of Georgia says that most of South Ossetia has been “liberated”. Russia sends in troops and promises to defend residents with Russian passports
August 12 President Medvedev of Russia says that he has decided to stop military action against Georgia. President Sarkozy of France begins negotiations on a peace agreement
August 15 Georgia signs French-brokered agreement
August 16 Mr Medvedev signs peace agreement, but Russian troops advance through Georgia to the capital Tbilisi
August 18 Russia announces withdrawal from Georgia but Tbilisi accuses Moscow of stalling and not observing ceasefire
August 20 Abkhazia, another breakaway region, votes to ask Russia to recognise its independence. Russia freezes relations with Nato
August 26 Russia formally recognises South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Mr Medvedev says: “We are not afraid of . . . a Cold War”
Dood, I am.