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Putin Links Troubles With Georgia To Frozen Conflicts

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) PRAGUE, October 25, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says the souring of relations with Georgia is a result of Tbilisi's stance on its frozen conflicts.

Putin accused Georgia of seeking to use military means to resolve the conflicts in breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which he called a "big mistake."

MORE: Coverage of President Putin's speech in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.

The deterioration of Russian-Georgian relations is linked precisely to that -- to the attempts, or the preparation of a possible military solution of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia problems," he said.

Putin said the actions Russia has taken against Georgia over the past few weeks are aimed at "preventing bloodshed" in these regions. Russia has cracked down on Georgian businesses and deported some Georgians living in Russia back to Tbilisi.

He made his remarks during a live televised question-and-answer session with the Russian public.

Moscow And Tbilisi

Moscow And Tbilisi

Russian military hardware being withdrawn from a Russian base in Batumi, Georgia, in August 2005 (TASS)

WHAT COMES NEXT? Although Russia is unlikely to push an aggressive military response to the current tensions with Georgia, it has a number of economic, political, and diplomatic options at its disposal. Already on October 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin summoned his inner circle to weigh Moscow's options... (more)


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MORE: Coverage of the situation in Georgian from RFE/RL's Georgian Service and in Russian from RFE/RL's Russian Service.


RFE/RL's English-language coverage of Georgia and Russia.