Medvedev Says Russia Will Retaliate to EU Sanctions | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 31.08.2008
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Medvedev Says Russia Will Retaliate to EU Sanctions

A day before EU leaders meet to discuss the situation in Georgia, Russian President Medvedev said Russia would respond in kind to European sanctions. Germany said Moscow's support is crucial to European stability.

Medvedev standing in front of a Russian flag

Medvedev promised economic, social, humanitarian and military aid to South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told Russia's three main television channels that he considered sanctions to be a final step and added that such measures need to be encoded in law saying, "If needed, we also can adopt such special laws."

He also said Russia would provide military aid to South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two Georgian breakaway regions the Kremlin has recognized as independent states.

"We of course will help them," Medvedev said, adding that international agreements were being drawn up. "In these international agreements all our obligations for providing support will be set out: economic, social, humanitarian, military."

The president spoke on the eve of a European Union summit that is to decide on a response to Russia's military surge in Georgia this month and decision to recognize two Georgian separatist regions as independent states.

Internal differences split EU

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Steinmeier criticized both Russia and Georgia on Sunday

The EU will to show a united front on Russia despite internal differences over whether Moscow should face consequences for its actions in Georgia.

EU leaders are set to issue a tough verbal condemnation of Moscow over the conflict in breakaway South Ossetia but France, Germany and others have blocked calls from eastern European states for a tougher stance, including possible punitive action.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday the EU should not isolate Russia.

"The government in Moscow deserves criticism for its behavior but that doesn't change the fact that security and stability in Europe can only be achieved with and not against Russia," Steinmeier said in a speech. "Thus Europe would only be hurting itself if we were to get full of emotion and slam all the doors shut to the rooms that we will want to enter afterwards," he said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia did not want to be isolated and would try to develop ties with the United States, European Union and other states.

But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who supported former Soviet satellite states, said Sunday he would seek a complete review of the European Union's ties to Russia after Moscow's intervention in Georgia.

Georgia: Keep war from happening again

Russian soldiers in armored vehicles, are seen on the outskirts of Gori

Georgia said a strong EU response to prevent future violence was necessary

Georgian Foreign Minister Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili said EU sanctions were not "pivotal" but said the bloc should take steps that would keep Russia from "undertaking actions of similar nature in other states."

"We trust the wisdom and the courage of the European Union to undertake the best available steps for that," she told reporters in Istanbul.

The bloc is expected to pledge reconstruction and other aid to Georgia, deeper ties including a free trade accord and easier visa regulations for its citizens. It will also signal that it is ready to launch a civilian monitoring mission on the ground.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt urged the EU to speed up plans for an "Eastern Partnership" with former Soviet republics.

"I hope the initiative for an Eastern Partnership will gain new momentum now after the tragic events of recent weeks," Bildt told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of a plan launched this year to cooperate more with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and, subject to reforms, Belarus.

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