The high-profile visit of US Vice President Joe Biden to Georgia has drawn a harsh warning from Russia. Moscow said it would not allow Georgia to re-arm, and accused Tbilisi of provocation ahead of the anniversary of last summer’s brief war.
Russia considers Georgia part of its sphere of influence, but President Mikheil Saakashvili said those days have gone:
“Our choice is irreversible. We decided to join the free world, Europe and the North Atlantic Alliance. This was supported by the Georgian people, overwhelmingly in a referendum, a free poll, and nothing is going to reverse it.”
Biden reiterated Washington’s support for Georgia:
“We are confident about your future and you should be confident about our willingness to stand with you.”
Tension remains high over the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, with Russia accusing un-named states of hiding arms supplies to Georgia in shipments of humanitarian aid. And Abkhazia claimed to have found a cache of weapons hidden by Georgia in the disputed Kodori Gorge. Local defence sources said the arms were placed there eight months ago, ready for any Georgian attempt to re-take the strategic area.
Russia vows to stop Georgia re-arming