A Russian peacekeeper in South Ossetia (file photo) (AFP)
July 16, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov today accused pro-war elements in Georgia of provocations in connection with the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia.
Lavrov said several Russians, including a top diplomat and military official, were detained near South Ossetia on July 15, held for several hours, and stripped of some personal belongings.
He also said Georgia appears engaged in "serious military preparations" near the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone.
President Putin at a Kremlin meeting in April (epa)
PUTIN SPEAKS OUT: During a January press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there is a need for "universal principles" to settle "frozen" conflicts in the CIS. His comments came against the background of impending talks on the future status of Kosovo, which many predict will grant it a form of "conditional independence" from Serbia and Montenegro. As an ally of Serbia, Moscow has consistently opposed the idea of Kosovar independence. Putin's remarks suggest he may be shifting his position, but only if the principles applied to Kosovo are also applied to frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union. If Kosovo can be granted full independence, he asked, why should we deny the same to Abkhazia and South Ossetia? (more)