Europe will not be instrumental in settling the conflict between Georgia and its breakaway republic of South Ossetia, Vyacheslav Nikonov, President of the Russian think-tank Politika, said in a RIA interview Wednesday.
"It's unlikely that the European Union will send peacekeepers into South Ossetia," Mr. Nikonov said. He also expressed doubt that the Ossetians would allow European peacekeepers in.
Speaking of the recent escalation of the Georgia-Ossetia conflict, the analyst pointed out that "in fact, we have found ourselves on the brink of war" and may slide into hostilities before we know it.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili must be trying to show off to the nation how successful he is in bringing the nation together, Mr. Nikonov argues. "But these actions will encounter understanding neither on the part of the Ossetians nor on the part of the peacekeepers, who protect the lives of Russian nationals as well as Ossetians," he said.
Commenting on the strong statements that the Georgian leader has recently made vis-a-vis Russia, Mr. Nikonov remarked that Saakashvili's rhetoric was in all probability targeting a domestic audience and that it may resonate in the West, as well. He said that those pronouncements reflected the estrangement of the Russian political elite and the Russians in general. "If he [Saakashvili] seeks to spoil relations with Russia, he has come close to that," the analyst said, adding that the Georgian President was "burning all the bridges behind him."
RIA Novosti's interviewee believes that Russian authorities should continue keeping a close eye on developments in South Ossetia as the long-simmering conflict may now boil over into a large-scale war.