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Vladimir Putin, Sochi, October 18, 2018. Photo: facebook.com/ValdaiClub

Vladimir Putin Speaks Saakashvili, “Lugar Lab”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 18 at an annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, that current Ukrainian leaders are pursuing “anti-state and anti-people policy,” like Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashili did “by attacking South Ossetia.”

“It was exactly because of these criminal actions that Georgia lost significant [parts] of its territory, exactly as a result of Saakashvili’s actions,” Putin underscored in his remarks, adding that it would be “regretful” if Ukrainian leaders “followed his footsteps.”

The Russian President made the statements in the plenary session of the 15th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Moscow-based think-tank, held on October 15-18 in Sochi. The event brought together some 130 experts from 33 countries.

Putin also commented on Russia’s recent bio-warfare allegations against the Georgian Healthcare Ministry’s Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, a Tbilisi-based biological research facility, established with the U.S. support and funding.

The Russian President said he “will not judge” how accurate ex-Security Minister Igor Giorgadze’s claims are,” but “it obviously raises concerns” for Moscow. “If these works (on biological weapons production) are indeed being carried out, it is very dangerous,” Putin said.

Georgia’s Healthcare Minister Davit Sergeenko responded to Putin’s remarks on October 19, saying the authorities will address the World Health Organization to dispatch an official mission, including with participation of Russian experts, for a detailed study of the facility.

For background, we recommend our Q&A on Russia’s “Lugar Lab” Information Offensive.

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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