Russia celebrates Georgian victory

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The Independent Online

Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, pledged yesterday to provide further support to breakaway Georgian regions on the anniversary of the Russian-Georgian war.

"Two years ago today, Georgia provoked a bloody conflict," Mr Medvedev said in televised remarks. "This day will forever remain in our memory as a day of mourning and the day when Russia made a decision to protect peaceful civilians."

Mr Medvedev addressed Russian troops stationed in the Black Sea port of Gudauta in Abkhazia – one of the two separatist provinces whose independence Moscow recognised after the brief war in August 2008. The conflict erupted after Georgian troops tried to regain control over the other province, South Ossetia. Separatist authorities and Moscow accused Georgia of genocide.

Russia deployed thousands of troops in both provinces, securing its presence in the strategic region between the Caspian and Black seas close to Iran.