Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on Friday defended the decisions made in the run-up to the August war with Russia, telling a parliamentary commission that Georgia had responded to Russian “intervention.”
He also repeated assertions that his government had neither sought nor received advance approval of the Aug. 7 attack on the separatist region of South Ossetia, in particular from the United States.
“We didn’t ask for a green light from anyone,” he testified. “We were telling our friends that Russia was conducting these provocations, which were completely out of any sort of framework.”
Russia’s military response to the attack was overwhelming. It routed the Georgian military, inflicted severe damage on Georgia’s economy and aggravated already troubled relations between Moscow and Washington – a staunch backer of Mr. Saakashvili.
Opposition politicians have been increasing their criticism of Mr. Saakashvili over the run-up to the war.
Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia said Wednesday that Georgian officials perceived a July visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as encouragement for the use of force against South Ossetia. Former Ambassador Erosi Kitsmarishvili also said people in Mr. Saakashvili’s circle told Mr. Kitsmarishvili that Miss Rice “gave the green light” – something Miss Rice herself has denied.