There have been harsh words for the United States from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, making his first state of the nation address.
In a speech at the Kremlin, broadcast live on state television and radio, he blamed US foreign policy for the recent conflict in the Caucasus.
“The Georgian army’s attack on Russian peacekeepers turned into a tragedy for thousands of people,” Medvedev said.
“Because of this provocation, tension rose throughout the region. This conflict was used as a pretext for sending NATO warships to the Black Sea. And then, for the forceful foisting on Europe of America’s anti-missile systems, which in turn will entail retaliatory measures by Russia.”
Medvedev outlined some of those measures, watched by his predecessor Vladimir Putin, who sat in an audience of parliamentarians, top government officials, religious leaders and journalists.
The Russian leader said his country would deploy Iskander missiles in its western outpost of Kaliningrad. It had scrapped plans to stand down three missile regiments and it would electronically jam elements of the proposed US system.
President Medvedev linked the war in Georgia to the global financial crisis. “It also began as a localised event,” he said, “on the American markets.“But because they are linked to the rest of the developed world, the American economy, the strongest in the world, dragged the whole planet’s financial markets into the crisis which became global.”
Medvedev, who took office in May, also proposed extending the Russian presidential term from four to six years.