Russia on Wednesday accused the United States of quietly rearming Georgia a year after Russian forces crushed the ex-Soviet state’s US-backed military and warned it would respond accordingly.
“Delivery of weapons from the United States is continuing,” Deputy Foreign Minister Grigori Karasin told journalists at a briefing ahead of the first anniversary of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.
“This is worrisome and will force us to take corresponding measures,” Karasin said. He did not elaborate on what types of weapons were involved or on how Russia would respond.
His comments however marked one of Moscow’s most pointed accusations that the United States, which recently reaffirmed a strategic commitment to Georgia, was stoking tensions in the volatile Caucasus region.
On a visit to Tbilisi on July 23, US Vice President Joe Biden admitted that Washington, which equipped and trained Georgian forces prior to the war last August, was working on “maintaining” the Georgian military.
He said however that the effort was confined to “planning, training, organization” -- and not the supply of weapons.
The following day, Russia’s ambassador to NATO said Moscow would impose sanctions on US or any other foreign firms that sold arms to Georgia.