Georgia’s accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would cause a "terrible conflict" - Medvedev

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Georgia on Tuesday condemned Russia's continued "occupation" of its territory, a decade after the two countries went to war over the Kremlin-backed separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In August 2008, following Russia's aggression against Georgia, the two breakaway northern regions declared independence.

The first is that ever since Russia's invasion of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia in 2008, it has maintained military bases on territory that is internationally recognised as Georgian.

Russian Federation swiftly responded with a military operation in defence of the separatists and rapidly overwhelmed the Georgian forces, even threatening to take Tbilisi during the five-day war.

The minister stressed that Latvia, Lithuania and Poland want Kyiv and Tbilisi to become North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members.

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In an interview with Kommersant daily on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he believes the tensions between Russia and western countries will not last forever. In March 2017, Visa Free Travel for short term stays entered into force for Georgian citizens.

Tiny Georgia has been trying for years to join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a means of protection from Russian aggression.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the "Russian military presence in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia continues to violate global law".

Medvedev added that NATO's expansion is a threat to Russian Federation.

Prime minister stressed that there is a different government in Georgia now.

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The joint trip to Tbilisi followed in the footsteps of the late Polish President Lech Kaczyński, who in August 2008 organised a visit in support of Georgia. He has warned against Georgia joining North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday (19 July) warned North Atlantic Treaty Organisation against cultivating closer ties with Ukraine and Georgia, saying such a policy was irresponsible and would have unspecified consequences for the alliance. In mid-July this year NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg again confirmed the bloc's intention to one day accept Georgia in its ranks, again without mentioning any dates.

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, told Russian news agency TASS that Tbilisi and other world capitals should draw conclusions from the August 2008 events and understand that any act of aggression will inevitably entail punishment.

In the decade since the conflict, Moscow has failed to implement the ceasefire agreement brokered by the European Union and "has further reinforced its illegal military presence on the ground", it said. "It [Russia] is a direct aggressor".

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