Russia Threatens Poland with Military Strike
Those arguing that Russia’s invasion of Georgia was a one-off and that Russia was unlikely to flex their muscles further into their near abroad may have to rethink that position:
A top Russian general said Friday that Poland’s agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported. The statement by Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn is the strongest threat that Russia has issued against the plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet satellite nations.
Poland and the United States on Thursday signed a deal for Poland to accept a missile interceptor base as part of a system the United States says is aimed at blocking attacks by rogue nations. Moscow, however, feels it is aimed at Russia’s missile force.
“Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike — 100 percent,” Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying. He added, in clear reference to the agreement, that Russia’s military doctrine sanctions the use of nuclear weapons “against the allies of countries having nuclear weapons if they in some way help them.” Nogovitsyn that would include elements of strategic deterrence systems, he said, according to Interfax.
Meanwhile, Georgia has been bullied into signing a cease-fire agreement.
A reluctant Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said Friday he signed a cease-fire agreement with Russia and declared in the presence of the chief U.S. diplomat that the West had behaved in ways that invited the invasion.
Near tears at times, Saakashvili said he will “never, ever surrender” in the showdown with much-larger Russia. “You are dealing with a people who despise anything human,” Saakashvili said of invading Russian forces.
Saakashvili said the West sent a disastrous signal to Russia by denying Georgia a door to NATO membership.
Saakashvili, whose leadership is founded on a close alliance with Washington that has always aggravated Moscow, said that Russia had interpreted NATO’s snub of Georgia as capitulation. He spoke hours after President Bush accused Russia of “bullying and intimidation” against Georgia. Bush, delivering a formal statement outside the Oval Office at the White House, said the people there chose freedom and “we will not cast them aside.”
Saakashvili did not appear enthusiastic about the cease-fire pact, but Rice defended it as a good way to return all forces to their prewar positions. She said that the signed pact obligates Russia to withdraw forces from Georgia immediately.
I’ll believe that when I see it.