Press-releases of the Embassy

August 23, 2008

On the situation in South Ossetia (press review)

1. NATO sends more ships into Black Sea

NATO has sent a Polish frigate and a U.S. destroyer through the Bosporus to boost its presence in the Black Sea, where it is delivering humanitarian cargoes to Georgia, a source in the Turkish navy said.

"Two more NATO ships passed through the strait and entered the Black Sea on Friday evening," the source told Russian News Agency RIA Novosti.

The deputy head of Russia's General Staff said the Navy was aware that NATO was strengthening its presence in the sea.

"The situation in the Black Sea is escalating. NATO is continuing to build up its naval presence in the area," Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn told reporters Saturday.

A Navy officer said Friday that Russia would continue its operations to ensure the security of shipping to and from Georgia's separatist republic of Abkhazia.

"The Black Sea fleet continues to carry out its task of maritime traffic security patrols off the coast of Abkhazia," Captain Igor Dygalo said.

The ORP General Pulaski and the USS McFaul joined two ships from Germany and Spain that entered the sea earlier Friday.

The Turkish navy source expected the NATO presence in the Black Sea to grow to about seven vessels.

Nogovitsyn on Friday expressed doubts that NATO vessels needed to be in the Black Sea, and he promised that Russia would respond swiftly to any provocations against its Black Sea Fleet.

Tensions between NATO and Russia are high following the recent conflict over Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia.

2. S.Ossetian president to fly to Moscow with sovereignty appeal

South Ossetia's president and parliamentary leadership will fly to Moscow on Saturday to deliver the republic's sovereignty appeal to the Russian authorities in person.

South Ossetia's parliament adopted Friday the address to Russia's president and both houses of parliament to recognize the Georgian separatist republic's independence.

"We appeal to Russia to be the first country from the international community to recognize the independence of the republic of South Ossetia," reads Tskhinvali's request.

Addressing a rally in capital Tskhinvali on Thursday, South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity said: "Those who armed Georgia are also responsible for what happened in South Ossetia, and do not have the moral right to claim the role of peacekeepers."

Both chambers of Russia's parliament are expected to consider the appeals by the republics on Monday.

Russian Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak said Friday that Russia was likely to approve the South Ossetian sovereignty appeal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled earlier this week that whether Russia recognized South Ossetia and a second separatist Georgian region, Abkhazia, as independent countries would depend on the Georgian president.

"[Mikheil] Saakashvili is responsible for how the situation will develop," Lavrov said

According to: Russia Today TV Channel; The Voice of Russia; RIA Novosti