Moscow: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin issued a stern warning to Georgia today against
attempting to retake two rebel regions by force, saying last
year`s war with Russia ought to serve as a stark lesson.
"If they learn even just one thing from the events of
August last year, they should have learned that there is no
sense in talking about using force," Russian news agencies
quoted Putin as saying.
Speaking at his Black Sea coastal residence in Sochi,
the Russian prime minister said he could not rule out another
conflict in the tense Caucasus region as long as Georgian
President Mikheil Saakashvili remained in power.
"Given today`s Georgian leadership it is impossible to
exclude anything," he said.
But any attempt by Georgia to use force against the
rebel regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, would be "far more
difficult" following the war last August, Putin added.
"Russia will deploy forces in Abkhazia. We will build
a modern border-guard system... All these measures are
additional serious security guarantees for Abkhazia and South
Ossetia," Putin said. "All this will cost about 15-16 billion
rubles" (USD 463 million)," he added.
Russia and Georgia last week marked the first
anniversary of their brief but bitter five-day war over South
Ossetia. The war broke out on August 7 last year when Georgian
forces launched an assault on South Ossetia.