The Georgian president has denounced the Russian parliament’s calls for recognition of independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Mikheil Saakashvili was visiting Gori. Much of the town was reduced to rubble during the fighting, and he could not hide his anger at Moscow’s actions.
“This is as unjustified as Stalin’s attack on Finland, or the Nazi occupation of Europe,” he said. “It is against international law and is a challenge to the world.”
Russia’s much-delayed pullout has alarmed Georgia and the West, with Moscow’s forces digging-in around the Black Sea port of Poti. The port’s mayor, Vano Saginadze, said Moscow’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is meaningless.
“The whole world recognises the territorial integrity of Georgia, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Therefore, the Duma’s decision to recognise independence is not very important,” he said.
Russia is maintaining its grip on Poti, which was badly damaged during the fighting. A US warship has delivered 55 tonnes of aid, underlining Washington’s support for Tbilisi. The USS McFaul’s arrival irritated Moscow, which said Russian forces would inspect all shipments of foreign aid.