President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: You know that we have always been a peace-loving country. Practically at no time in its history did Russia, the Soviet Union, or modern Russia ever start hostilities. But even the most peace-loving country has to have combat-ready armed forces. You know the well-known saying that he who does not want to feed his own army will end up feeding someone else’s. We cannot allow this to happen.
We do not attack anyone. On the contrary, in a number of cases we are protecting the lives and dignity of people, our citizens and foreign citizens, through our presence as peacekeepers in different countries, including in states that emerged following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
I think it is absolutely clear to you that if someone thinks they can kill our citizens in impunity, kill our soldiers and officers who are peacekeepers, this is something we can never accept. Anyone who tries such a thing will meet with a crushing response. We have all the possibilities we need for this: economic, political and military. If anyone had such illusions a while ago, the time has now come to part with them.
We do not want any escalation in the international situation. We simply want respect, respect for our country, our people and our values. And we use our peacekeeping forces to ensure these decisions, to help our citizens and also those who are not Russian citizens but face a difficult situation.
There is no historical precedent for the aggression launched by the Georgian authorities 10 days ago. It goes beyond all understanding when a seemingly civilized country, whose armed forces have been modernized by another, highly developed country, uses its military machine against civilians (who, incidentally, it sometimes still considers its own citizens) and peacekeepers. We cannot allow this. I repeat that there can only be one answer to such actions.