Dmitry Medvedev Says Georgia Attack Is 'Russia's 9/11'

Dmitry Medvedev Says Georgia Attack Is 'Russia's 9/11'
September 13th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Dmitry Medvedev Says Georgia Attack Is 'Russia's 9/11'

Dmitry Medvedev Says Georgia Attack Is 'Russia's 9/11'
London Times
September 13, 2008
By Richard Beeston, in Moscow
President Medvedev of Russia today likened last month’s war with Georgia to the September 11 terrorist attacks on America, and vowed that the Kremlin would go to any lengths in future to protect its regional interests and Russian citizens everywhere.
Speaking to foreign academics and journalists at the giant GUM department store opposite the Kremlin, the Russian leader stepped up his defiant rhetoric against the West, which is fast becoming the hallmark of his short presidency.
“The world has changed and it occurred to me that August 8, 2008 has become for Russia what September 11, 2001 was for the United States. This is an accurate comparison corresponding to Russian realities,” he said.
“Humankind has drawn lessons from the September 11 tragedy and other tragic events. I would like the world to draw lessons also from these events (in the Caucasus),” he said.
By this he means that in future he wants the outside world to take Russia’s interests into consideration before taking steps, such as the eastward expansion of Nato to countries like Georgia and Ukraine and the deployment of US interceptor missiles to Poland.
If not, Mr Medvedev gave warning that he would defend the Kremlin’s interests by force if necessary, particularly in “Russian zones of interest”, namely the areas which once made up the former Soviet Union. He added that he would be meeting his defence and industry ministers shortly to reequip the Russian military with modern arms.
He described any move to bring Georgia into the alliance as “unacceptable”. He said that even if Georgia had been a fully fledged member of Nato last month during the war over the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia, he would still have ordered Russian troops to launch their counter-attack.
Mr Medvedev also made clear that even though the fighting may be over in Georgia the conflict is not. Moscow will never negotiate with Tblisi while President Mikheil Saakashvili remains in power. He branded the Georgian leader a “pathological” madman and accused him of being a drug addict.
As for the millions of Russians still living across the former Soviet republics, like Ukraine and the Baltic states, the Kremlin leader laid down a marker to his neighbours. “The protection of the lives and dignity of Russian citizens no matter where they find themselves is the key task for the Russian state. This is our main goal,” he said.
The Russian President, a short, articulate former lawyer, had been expected to be more liberal-minded than his predecessor Vladimir Putin, the former KGB agent who is now Prime Minister. But the Kremlin leader went out of his way to speak out even more forcefully than his predecessor, although his words lacked the passion and fury that Mr Putin became famous for.
The tough talking is not only reserved to public occasions. According to British officials, Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, swore at David Miliband during a telephone conversation last month at the height of the crisis in Georgia.
“Who are you to f****** lecture me?” Mr Lavrov, a fiery veteran diplomat, reportedly told Mr Miliband in a heated dispute over the behaviour of Russian troops in Georgia.
A senior Russian official denied that Mr Lavrov used the language and said that a full transcript of the conversation would be posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

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