Vladimir Putin threatened to overthrow Georgia’s leader and “hang him by the balls” during talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the height of the war between Russia and Georgia.
From The Telegraph, London
November 13, 2008
The Russian Prime Minister issued the threat against Mikheil Saakashvili as his troops rolled into Georgian territory and at one point threatened the country’s capital Tbilisi.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seen here on November 12, 2008, allegedly threatened to hang Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili “by the balls” during the August war in Georgia, a report not denied by Putin’s spokesman.(AFP/POOL/File/Alexey Nikolsky)
Mr Putin’s fury was overheard by President Sarkozy’s chief adviser, Jean-David Levitte during emergency cease-fire talks on August 12.
According Mr Levitte, interviewed in Le Nouvel Observateur magazine, Mr Putin exploded with rage when Mr Sarkozy warned him off toppling Georgia’s democratically elected government Â and its President Saakashvili.
“I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls,” he said.
“Hang him?,” asked Mr Sarkozy.
“Why not?,” retorted Mr Putin. “The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein.”
Mr Sarkozy replied: “Yes but do you want to end up like Bush?”
Briefly lost for words, the Russian leader agreed: “Ah, you have scored a point there.”
Confronted by the comments on a French radio show yesterday (THURS), Mr Saakashvili laughed nervously.