Georgia `should have learned` from war with Russia: Putin
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 16:05
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.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 16:05

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