Russia Presses for Georgia Arms Embargo

Just a day after agreeing to a pullout from Georgian territory, Russia has presented a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for an arms embargo against the Caucasus nation. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin conceded that the move would likely face strong opposition, but cited Georgia’s August invasion of South Ossetia and the over 50-fold increase in Georgia’s annual military budget over the past six years as signs that the nation is aggressively arming itself, and putting those arms to “very bad use”.

Much of Georgia’s military was destroyed in the brief war with Russia that followed the South Ossetia offensive, and has left many Georgians questioning the wisdom of President Mikheil Saakashvili in starting such a disastrous war to begin with. President Saakashvili, for his part, has vowed to reclaim the breakaway enclaves of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whose independence was officially recognized by Russia shortly after the conflict.

Georgia is reportedly eying an even larger military in the wake of the defeat and the Pentagon has said, as it wraps up its contentious control over Georgia’s post-war aid operations, that it intends to send a team to assess Georgia’s future “security needs”. But US officials have been saying since the war ended that they expect to play a role in the reconstruction of Georgia’s military. Russia has warned that US efforts to restore Georgia’s military might imperil the stability of the region.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.