Russia thanks Serbians over crisis

BELGRADE -- Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Konuzin thanked the Serbian people and B92 for their understanding of the situation in Georgia.

Serbians at the Russian embassy today (Beta)
Serbians at the Russian embassy today (Beta)

He also reminded of the victims that fell in the clashes between the Georgian, South Ossetian and Russian forces, that broke out last week.

As Serbians came to the Russian embassy in Belgrade today to sign a book of condolences for the South Ossetian victims, the ambassador said his country will not lead a war against the people of Georgia.

"First of all I would like to thank your television, B92, for coming here to the Russian embassy. I would also like to take this opportunity to address the Serbian public. Serbs, a big thank you for understanding the situation that has developed in the region of South Ossetia, for the great sympathy that you show for Russia and the citizens of Russia over the humanitarian catastrophe that has befallen that region, as a result of the Georgian government's criminal policy," the ambassador said.

"We are very pleased that you understand this situation well, that you did not fall for a propaganda scam, that is attempting to present an aggression on the part of the Georgian army against its own citizens as a conflict between Georgia and Russia."

"Russians will never go to war against Georgians, just as Russians will never go to war against Serbs. Thank you for understanding the whole situation, and for expressing your sympathies over this sad situation in your letters and verbal contacts with the Russian embassy. Thank you very much," Konuzin said.

Russia believes there are no similarities between the cases of Kosovo and South Ossetia, and that Moscow had the right to intervene in Georgia.

"In the past ten years Georgia has on several occasions gone to war with a people that lives in the territory of that republic. And we cannot ignore that fact. Under the present conditions we see a genocide practically taking place against an ethnic minority," Konuzin said.

The six points of a peace agreement accepted by Russia and Georgia and presented by France, are only a starting point for negotiations that this diplomat says will be hard, since the truce is apparently being violated.

"Even the signed principles are no guarantee that there will be an end to military action. We have information that Georgian soldiers are still shooting in civilian settlements, and using sabotage methods. The most important thing at this point is to establish an efficient ceasefire," the ambassador said.