'Russia planned Georgian invasion,' Saakashvili tells Swedish paper
AFP · 1 Sep 2008, 14:21
Published: 01 Sep 2008 14:21 GMT+02:00
"The invasion was very well-planned for several months and no one in the international community stopped them," Saakashvili said in the interview with the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter in Tbilisi.
Many critics have said Georgia brought the August 8th incursion on itself, with Moscow insisting it sent in troops to push back a Georgian offensive to retake the rebel enclave of South Ossetia.
The province broke away from Tbilisi in the 1990s with Moscow's backing.
But Saakashvili insisted that Russia "would have attacked us no matter what. In just hours, 18,000 Russian soldiers and hundreds of tanks were in South Ossetia."
"All their troops were mobilized a week before the attack, so what could
have stopped them? Passivity from us? No, only decisive action from the West," he said.
"Those who talk about (us walking into) a trap are only trying to justify their own lack of action," he added.
In the interview, published on the day before European Union leaders were to meet to discuss the conflict, Saakashvili said he still hoped for a tough Western response to Russia's continued occupation of parts of Georgia and its unilateral recognition of independence for South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia.
"It will take time for the world to react to this. Europe always takes its time and the United States is in the middle of a presidential campaign ... But the awareness about what is happening is broader now than" before, he said.
Saakashvili also rejected that all hope of regaining control over its two provinces was gone.
"The worst thing you can do is to say there is nothing left to do. That is exactly what the Russians want to hear. But it is totally wrong," he insisted, pointing out that "Russia is very dependent on the West and has an underdeveloped economy."