Cites example of South Ossetia and war between Georgia and Russia
Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, warned during an interview with Russia Today his government will not stand idly by as the junta in Kyiv attacks its opposition in eastern Ukraine.
“If we are attacked, we would certainly respond,” Lavrov said. “If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law.”
During the interview, Lavrov characterized the junta’s use of forces against activists in eastern Ukraine as “criminal.” He accused the coup government of violating the Geneva agreement. “In Geneva we agreed there must be an end of all violence. Next afternoon [interim Ukrainian President Aleksandr] Turchinov declared almost a state of emergency and ordered the army to shoot at the people,” he said.
South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1990 which resulted in three wars. During the third conflict in 2008, Russia responded after Georgia amassed a large number of troops and equipment in the enclave and shelled villages. Prior to the conflict, both the United States and Russia conducted war games in the region.
State Department documents released by Wikileaks in 2010 reveal the United States was well aware of the Georgian plan to invade and reclaim South Ossetia. Despite knowledge of a Georgian military build-up, then U.S. ambassador, John Tefft, said Russia was the aggressor.
The president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, was installed following the Rose Revolution in 2003. Michael Barker writes that the United States “had applied its entire panoply of ‘democracy promoting’ devices to ensure that the revolution was successful on their terms (these of course, included the NED and USAID).” After the resignation of President Eduard Shevardnadze and the election of Saakashvili, the IMF and the World Bank resumed funding the government and the State Department pledge $100 million.