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Russia Vows To Stop Georgia Rearming


Russian Deputy Foregin Minister Grigory Karasin

Russian Deputy Foregin Minister Grigory Karasin

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia will take "concrete measures" to prevent Georgia from rearming after its war with Moscow last year, ITAR-TASS news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin as saying on July 23.

"We will continue to prevent the rearming of [President Mikheil] Saakashvili's regime and will take concrete measures against this," the agency quoted Karasin as saying in an interview.

Karasin made his comments as U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden visited Tbilisi in a show of support by Washington for its troubled South Caucasus ally ahead of the first anniversary in August of the Russia-Georgia war.

Moscow is very sensitive to what it regards as U.S. meddling in its back yard, particularly as the war anniversary approaches. Washington wants to show that its recent efforts to improve relations with Russia do not come at the expense of its pro-Western allies in the former Soviet Union.

"We have a deep worry regarding the activity of the Georgian leadership over remilitarising its country, which several states are responding to in a surprisingly calm and positive way" Karasin said, in comments directed at Tbilisi's allies.

"In the event of foreign states supplying Georgia with arms and war equipment -- from Russia, or Soviet-developed, or produced by Russians or Soviets -- we will consider the question of limiting or stopping military-technical or military-economic development with these states," Tass quoted Karasin as saying.

Karasin did not name any country but Moscow has previously expressed anger at Ukraine for selling weapons to Georgia which Russia says were used against it during the fighting.

The Russian official also took aim at countries he said were concealing military aid under the guise of humanitarian programs.

"In recent months, we have observed efforts by some states to act in an underhand way to conceal military cooperation with the Georgian side, which includes masking it under the guise of "humanitarian aid" to overcome the consequences of the conflict," Karasin said.
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