Tunne Kelam: There is a third party in the Russian-Georgian conflict
Speaking at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg where parliamentarians assessed the international commission's report on the 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict, European Peoples Party member Tunne Kelam said that there is a third party in the conflict. That third party is the international community, including the European Union.
According to Kelam, for too long and too easily the international community has become used to the existence of so-called frozen conflicts. Accepting the existence of these conflicts equals appeasement.
"The key conclusion is that Georgia did not invade the territory of the Russian Federation whereas Russian invaded the territory of the sovereign nation of Georgia with massive military force and was about to occupy its capital city," stated Kelam.
This invasion was a breach of the basic norms of international conduct that dramatically undermined Russia´s credibility as a reliable partner.
International reaction to this conflict has been ambiguous, said Kelam. Calling this invasion merely an "excessive use of force" can be viewed only as continuing appeasement. Since Russian leaders have apparently succeeded in avoiding any international consequences for undertaking this military invasion, they see themselves as winners.
"Alarmingly, this has in fact increased the likelihood of new Russian military aggressions in areas like Crimea or even in the Baltic Sea region," Kelam warned.
In Kelam's opinion, the EU's strong presence and clear commitment in guaranteeing Georgia's freedom to choose its future path and to retain its territorial integrity will be of utmost importance.