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Russia's Medvedev says 'no regrets' on S. Ossetia decision

RIA Novosti

14:05 07/08/2009 MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that he has no regrets about giving the go ahead for Russian troops to move into South Ossetia after Georgia launched an attack a year ago.

"I have no regrets about that period. It was a very important period in the life of our state and we made the choice, we reacted honestly and responsibly," Medvedev said during a meeting with Russian script writers for a NTV movie entitled In August 2008.

Some 162 civilians and 67 Russian service personnel, including peacekeepers, were killed when Georgia attacked the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia last August. Russia reacted swiftly expelling Georgian troops from South Ossetia and forcing them deep into Georgia amid accusations on both sides of human right abuses.

"We reacted absolutely dead-on and the decisions that were made by me as the Commander in Chief were effective. And most importantly they saved people's lives," Medvedev said.

Medvedev said the memories of the early morning hours of August 8 would remain for him "the most distinct and at the same time very dramatic."

"I still have a whole range of emotions from that period, [including] my conversations with the defense minister, who was reporting on the ongoing situation, the sequence of events and other incidents during the awful aggression that happened on the night of August 7 and into the early morning of August 8, 2008," he said.

Medvedev said only one person can make the decision to go to war, the president.

"Consultations with others don't help; it is the responsibility of one person. That's just the way it was and therefore I didn't hold any consultations with anyone. I received information from the defense minister, thought it through and made the decision. That was probably the most difficult decision, but in the end we did the right thing," he said.

Following the war and Russia's subsequent recognition of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former Georgian republic, Tbilisi severed diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared both republics "occupied territories."


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