Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon dear colleagues!
We are meeting to discuss the new situation in the world, created as a result of the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. We must discuss this topic, draw conclusions concerning our general foreign policy strategy and work to strengthen our national security. Let us call a spade a spade: a real war occurred in the region where the aggression was launched, a war which claimed the lives of Russians, Ossetians and Georgians.
I would like to say some special words about the courage of our soldiers and officers, and about the peacekeepers, who took the first blow and performed their duty with honour.
The South Ossetia tragedy clearly shows that in our era there are reckless politicians whose actions represent a serious threat to international order and stability. We truly witnessed how from the local, smoldering – as they say – frozen conflict, a real fire broke out with all the foreseeable humanitarian consequences and, unfortunately, other consequences as well.
The events in South Ossetia also demonstrated something else: Russia will not allow anyone to compromise the lives and dignity of its citizens, Russia is a nation, which will continue to be reckoned with.
We stopped a military aggression, we defended our legitimate interests, and these decisive steps were supported not only by Russian society, but also by the millions of people abroad who praised them as well.
Despite the fact that many countries have chosen to shy away from condemning the Georgian regime, the voice of those who accepted our arguments, our fundamental position, and praised our actions, has been and remains very important to us. Yesterday, as you know, we talked in detail about this topic with our allies in the CSTO.
Once again I repeat that we did not need this war, it was imposed on us, but no country in the world would stand by as its citizens and peacekeepers were being killed. Russia was obliged to save lives, to uphold law and justice.
We will help the Ossetian people rebuild what has been destroyed. I think that all of the regions here will be able to provide South Ossetia and Abkhazia with fraternal support and practical assistance, primarily, of course, in rebuilding their infrastructure.
South Ossetia and Abkhazia have already begun to actively build their statehood in this new environment. There is also a need for efficient and targeted support in this regard. New states should set an example in the establishment of civil peace, national capabilities and national harmony, as well as adherence to democratic principles.
Dear colleagues! In this period, as they say, we have lived through a moment of truth. After the 8th of August 2008 the world has changed. I have already said that we were supported by hundreds of millions of people. However, we haven't heard words of support and understanding from those who, in the same circumstances, pontificate about freedom of choice and national dignity and the need to use force to punish an aggressor.
Unfortunately, the situation is such that following these events these forces continue arming the Georgian regime, including under the banner of humanitarian aid. A whole navy was sent to provide humanitarian assistance. It's interesting how they would feel if we were now to send humanitarian aid using our navy to the countries of the Caribbean Sea, which recently suffered from well-known devastating hurricanes.
They are trying to put political pressure on us. We, of course, are used to such situations. But they will not be able to do anything. And I would like to state as clearly as possible that this confrontation was not our choice. We reaffirm our readiness for equal and mutually beneficial solutions to the problems, to the development of neighbourly relations, relations which are based on real principles of international law.
I would like to discuss with you now the concrete contribution we can make here, and what steps could be taken by the regions of the Russian Federation, both border ones and other ones.
Naturally, we'll talk about other issues and lessons from crisis of August 2008 as well.