Georgia's Saakashvili 'pathological case': Russia
Russia's foreign minister on Monday belittled Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, calling him a "pathological case" and "badly brought up" on the third anniversary of the war between the countries.
"Mikheil Saakashvili is of course a pathological case. This is an anomaly among all the Georgian people. He is moreover a person who was clearly badly brought up," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference.
The two neighbours clashed briefly in August 2008, when Saakashvili's military attempt to reassert control over the Moscow-backed rebel region of South Ossetia was crushed by Russian troops who pushed deep into Georgian territory.
Using scathing language, Lavrov vowed that Russia would have no dealings with Georgia's current president, whom he accused of ordering unlawful killings and inventing his own version of the war.
"We will have nothing to do with a person who gave a criminal order to kill peacemakers, who gave an order to kill peaceful citizens, including citizens of the Russian Federation," Lavrov said.
He accused the strongly pro-Western Saakashvili of "constantly thinking up new fairytales... on how events really happened in August 2008, trying to turn everything topsy-turvy."
In fact, Georgia's version of events is not accepted in the West, Lavrov claimed. "There is not one serious official in the West who does not understand who did all this and how."
However the foreign ministry in Tbilisi said in a statement to mark the anniversary that Moscow was still threatening its smaller neighbour after its "full-scale military aggression" against Georgia in 2008.
"Unfortunately, on the third anniversary of the August war, Russia continues an aggressive policy aimed at destroying Georgian statehood and the country's independence and sovereignty," the statement said.
The statement accused Russia of refusing to allow victims of wartime "ethnic cleansing" to return to their homes, of staging a series of bomb attacks on Georgian territory, and of occupying South Ossetia and another rebel region Abkhazia, where Moscow has permanently stationed thousands of troops.
Memorial events were held all over Georgia on Monday to commemorate the anniversary, among them a ceremony at a military cemetery in Tbilisi where Saakashvili and the families of soldiers who died during the fighting laid wreaths at their graves.
Lavrov's comments came after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said forcefully in a recent interview that he would never forgive Saakashvili nor hold talks with him, but would be ready to meet other officials.
Medvedev on Monday met members of Russian special forces who fought in the war. Mourners for those killed held memorial services and lit candles in the breakaway regions and in Moscow.
The Russian president also sent to parliament documents to formalise agreements signed last year on troop deployments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Moscow recognised as independent states after the war despite criticism from the West.
© 2011 AFP