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Posted on on August 27th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Miliband rallies ‘coalition against Russian aggression’ {starts with talks in the Ukraine.}
PA, Wednesday, 27 August 2008, The Independent.…
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David Miliband will make a keynote speech in Ukraine today strongly condemning Russia’s decision to formally recognise two breakaway regions of Georgia.

The Foreign Secretary said he was visiting Kiev in a bid to assemble the “widest possible coalition against Russian aggression”.

Russia’s president Dmitri Medvedev was yesterday accused of “inflaming” the crisis by insisting that South Ossetia and Abkhazia should be independent.

Mr Medvedev told a news agency: “We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War.

“But we don’t want it and in this situation everything depends on the position of our partners.”

He said the West would have to “understand the reason behind” the decision to recognise the regions if it wanted to preserve good relations with Russia.


Mr Miliband said Russia’s recognition of the two regions was “unjustifiable and unacceptable” and further inflamed an already tense situation in the region.

“It will also not work,” he said in a statement yesterday. “It is contrary to the principles of the peace agreement, which Russia recently agreed, and to recent Russian statements.

“It takes no account of the views of the hundreds of thousands of Georgians and others who have been forced to abandon their homes in the two territories.”

The Foreign Secretary was backed by Western leaders including US President George Bush and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr Bush condemned Mr Medvedev’s decision as “irresponsible” and called the move “inconsistent” with UN Security Council resolutions and the French-brokered ceasefire plan.

“Russia’s action only exacerbates tensions and complicates diplomatic negotiations,” Mr Bush said.

Ms Merkel condemned Russia’s decision as “absolutely not acceptable,” but said Europe must still keep channels of communication open with Moscow.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said the Russian decision was “regrettable, and we reaffirm our attachment to Georgia’s territorial integrity”.

France, which currently holds the EU presidency, has called an emergency meeting of EU leaders on Monday to review the relationship between Russia and Europe.


Mr Medvedev has warned that he was considering halting co-operation with Nato altogether, amid the fallout from the one-sided military confrontation between Russia and Georgia earlier this month.

Yesterday Russia cancelled a visit by Nato’s secretary-general, and it has complained that the alliance is bolstering its military presence in the Black Sea.

And in a move that is likely to increase tensions even further, Mr Medvedev later warned that his country may respond to a US missile shield in Europe through military means.

Mr Medvedev said the deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders “will, of course, create additional tensions”.

He said: “We will have to react somehow, to react, of course, in a military way.”

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