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Georgia boosting military strength: Moscow


Moscow : Russia’s military Thursday warned of an increasing militarisation of its southern neighbour Georgia, in a warning coming a day after a European Union report blamed both countries for the brief but bitter war in the summer of 2008.

Deputy chief of general staff Anatoly Nogovizin said that since the war, Georgia had boosted its military forces by 4,000 to a current level of 36,000.

According to the Interfax agency, Nogovizin also accused Georgia of trying to destabilise the situation in the region with continued provocations.

Russia has repeatedly warned the West against supplying the “war monger” Georgia with new weapons, with Moscow also accusing Georgia of still planning to try to reconquer the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said his country, which is seeking to join NATO, is merely aiming to boost its self-defence capabilities.

Nogovizin’s warning came a day after an independent study for the EU blamed both Russia and Georgia for the Aug 2008 conflict.

The report by an experts group led by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini concluded that Georgia broke international law by attacking the separatist zone of South Ossetia, but Russia broke the law by invading Georgia in response.

After the report was published, both countries were quick to put their spin on it to blame the other for the conflict.