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Russian Experts Suspect Georgia Of Preparing Military Operation
RIA-Novosti - 4.6.12 - JRL 2012-65

Georgia's decision to terminate its obligations under to the Open Skies Treaty could lead to further tension in Russian-Georgian relations, and suggests that Tbilisi may be preparing for a repeat of the military operation in 2008, according to some Russian experts who were interviewed by RIA Novosti on 6 April.

Iran Map and Superimposed Radar Sweep"It seems that Georgia is trying to take a tougher stance and demonstrate its readiness to any turn of events, including a repeat of hostilities," deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary International Studies of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Diplomatic Academy Ivan Safranchuk said.

He said that since the "Open Skies Treaty is one of the fundamental documents providing for confidence-building measures in the military and political spheres in the OSCE", a country which attempts to break the agreement shows indirectly that it wants to hide some military preparations.

Safranchuk said that five years ago Georgia, "just before using force against South Ossetia and Abkhazia", also conducted "active games in the military sphere".

"Therefore, such demarches should not be treated simply as political games, in my opinion. This must be treated extremely seriously and we can not exclude the possibility that this is indeed the beginning of political preparations for a possible military escapade (by Tbilisi)," he added.

According to the expert, the international community, especially countries which see themselves as partners and friends of Georgia, should give a proper assessment of the situation.

"The European partners in the OSCE must put political pressure on Georgia to prevent these political games in the military sphere from turning into real military actions," Safranchuk said.

Vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Vladimir Anokhin believes that Georgia's terminating its obligations to Russia under the Open Skies Treaty "is an expected move". "Georgia is looking for any excuse to spoil relations with Russia. This allows it to work closer with the USA and NATO," Anokhin said.

According to him, South Ossetia and Abkhazia were used as a pretext once again.

"Although any normal politician realizes that it is impossible for these republics to return to Georgia in the foreseeable future," the expert said.

Georgia's decision to terminate its obligations to the Russian Federation in the framework of the Open Skies Treaty is merely a formal excuse to complicate relations between the two countries, former head of the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the Russian Defence Ministry and president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences Col-Gen (Rtd) Leonid Ivashov told RIA Novosti.

"Russia should not worry about this. Georgia has not been fulfilling its obligations under the Open Skies Treaty for several years anyway. This is just a formality that changes nothing," Ivashov said.

He believes that the Georgian leadership is doing everything to prevent an improvement in relations between the two countries.

"This is a response of the Georgian Foreign Ministry to Russia's attempts to develop relations between our people, between the citizens of Georgia and Russia, for example, to ease the visa regime. In order to prevent a rapprochement between