The White House is increasing pressure on Russia to stop the escalating conflict with Georgia in South Ossetia. And as diplomats press for a ceasefire, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has warned that his country will never be a “passive observer” of developments in the Caucasus region. Here are a timeline of events.
Yesterday Jim Jeffrey, the US deputy National Security Advisor, told reporters “We have made it clear to the Russians that if the disproportionate and dangerous escalation on the Russian side continues, that this will have a significant long term impact on US-Russian relations”. Over the weekend the UN Security Council failed again to agree on a statement regarding the fighting.
Is this standing up to Russia?
In recent years the country has flexed it muscles by disrupting gas supplies to several European countries after a dispute over prices with Ukraine.
British government sources told the BBC that it believed that the murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned in London in 2006, was carried out with the backing of the Russian state. Russia is refusing to extradite the main suspect to Britain….
So is this the start of a new world order? Is Russia now so powerful that no one dares to stand up to it? Is that why the UN and NATO isn’t coming to the aid of civilians being caught up in the fighting? Or is this a case of Russia taking over from the US as the new Superpower and there is nothing to fear?
Some Georgians feel let down by the west. But Georgia isn’t without blame. It launched an aerial bombardment and ground attack on South Ossetia last Thursday, only hours after the sides agreed a ceasefire. So is it right for the world to stand back and let the region reach a deal by itself?