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Dmitry Medvedev: Russia Always Ready to Defend its Citizens

“Russia is always ready to defend its citizens,” former Russian President and incumbent Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote in his Facebook post on August 8, referring to the 2008 Russian-Georgian war.

“The attack on a peaceful, sleeping Tskhinval[i], on the posts of Russian peacekeepers, was organized and carried out by then Georgian leadership in a completely cynical way and … I would say, treacherously. The most terrible thing is that civilians died,” said Dmitry Medvedev, who served as the President of Russia at the time of the August 2008 war.

“This barbarism had to be stopped and Russia conducted an operation to enforce peace,” he also wrote, adding that “it was impossible to act otherwise.”

“[This was] according to the law and based on conscience: we were obliged to protect our citizens. I mean the residents of South Ossetia, who had Russian passports and our peacekeepers, who fulfilled the decisions of the international community to maintain stability in the region. And we defended them,” Medvedev noted.

The Russian Prime Minister also said that before August 8, 2008 “it seemed unthinkable” for him that in the 21st century someone could have used Grad [rocket launchers] against the civilians, “but unfortunately today we have much more ruthless examples”

“One thing is clear – Russia is always ready to defend its citizens,” he concluded.

Mikheil Saakashvili, who served as the President of Georgia at the time of the August war, commented on the ninth anniversary in a Facebook post as well.

“In 2008, exactly at this time, the Russian Federation launched a full-scale invasion on the territory of Georgia,” Saakashvili wrote on August 8, adding that a total of 80 thousand soldiers and two hundred planes participated in Russia’s military campaign against Georgia, which aimed at “seizing Tbilisi, toppling the government, halting a successful reform experiment and eradicating the Georgian statehood.”

“The attack caught us off guard,” Mikheil Saakashvili went on, “most Georgian officers were on vacation, the most combat-ready unit of the army was in Iraq, almost all Government and Parliament members were absent.”

“Despite uneven forces, it was because of the heroic resistance of the Georgian army that we managed to stop the enemy and win several valuable days, before the international community finally engaged and the United States launched a military-humanitarian operation, which played an important part in stopping the attack on Tbilisi,” Saakashvili said.

The former President also underlined the importance of civic mobilization at the time of the August war and the involvement of political leaders of Baltic states, Ukraine and Poland, who travelled to Tbilisi to show their support during the war.

“Georgia miraculously survived and began developing at an even faster pace: Putin was unable to fulfill any of his strategic objectives up until 2012, but that’s another story,” he also noted.

“I bow to all soldiers and civilians – victims of the attack. Our struggle continues, and we will win!,” he concluded.

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