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Putin: Russia Ready For Improved Relations With Georgia

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow is ready to restore relations with the former Soviet republic of Georgia, seven years after a brief war sent relations to an all-time low.

Putin, speaking on December 17 at the Kremlin in his annual marathon press conference, said he sees "signals" from the current Georgian government that relations could be improved.

He added that Russia is also ready to cancel visa requirements for Georgians that had been added after the five-day war in August 2008.

Putin once again blamed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his predecessors for the military conflict over Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia.

"Georgia's former leadership and then-President Mikheil Saakashvili should not have taken such adventurist decisions that led to Georgia's territorial break-up," he said. "It is their fault. This fault is historic and they should carry it in full."

Putin added that the appointment by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to appoint Saakashvili to be the governor of Ukraine's Odesa region was "a spit in the face of the Ukrainian people."

Based on reporting Reuters, TASS, and Interfax

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