Visit of Russia’s Defense Minister, Sergey Ivanov to the USA has brought some surprise. As soon as the minister came down the ladder, he made several harsh statements about Georgia. He particularly warned of possible preventive attacks at the Pankisi Gorge. The minister said as quoted by RIA new agency, if some more attempts are made or prepared on the Georgian territory to organize more terrorism acts and blow up houses in Russia, nobody would wait anymore but simply prevent such attacks. Sergey Ivanov says that Russia wants only to prevent more attacks and aggression from Georgia, not more.
Russian hawk, that’s how the Russian defense minister is called in foreign media (the Bush administration has hawks of its own: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice) was obviously speaking not on behalf of his own. This was probably the wish of Russia’s commander-in-chief. The other day, President Putin met Commander of the RF General Staff, Anatoly Kvashnin and Director of the Federal Frontier Service, Konstantin Totsky. The president told journalists that he had got a letter from Georgia President Shevardnadze.
However, the response from the Georgian president provided no answers to the questions asked by the Russian party. In Putin’s words, “the Georgian party provided no guarantees that no terrorists would penetrate Russia from its territory.” So, the Russian president is dissatisfied with the letter sent by Shevardnadze.
Commander of the RF General Staff, Anatoly Kvashnin thinks that the Georgian leadership “doesn’t differ at all from Afghanistan’s Mullah Omar, the Taleban leader. It should change a lot in its activity to be kind of a Caucasian Musharraf.”
Today’s statement made by Sergey Ivanov became the culmination. To make foreign partners understand whom Sergey Ivanov supported, the minister added, Russia had “tons of evidences” that terrorists, and not only Chechens, were on the Georgian territory. He said he would give American partners additional information concerning the Pankisi Gorge.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea