Palin doesn’t rule out war with Russia over Georgia

September 12th, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sarah PalinMoscow, Sep 12 (RIA Novosti) Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has said Georgia should be admitted to NATO, and that the US could go to war with Russia if it again attacks the South Caucasus state. Speaking about the Georgian crisis in her first major interview since accepting nomination as John McCain’s running mate, the governor of Alaska said: “We’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable.”

Russia launched a five-day military operation to “force Georgia to accept peace” after Georgian troops attacked breakaway South Ossetia Aug 8, killing a number of Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of civilians.

Most of residents of South Ossetia have Russian citizenship. On Aug 26, Moscow recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian province, as independent states.

Palin told interviewer Charles Gibson of ABC News that Georgia should be granted membership of NATO.

When pressed on whether this would mean that the US would be obliged to defend Georgia if Russian troops went into the country again, she replied, “Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help.”

“What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against,” Palin added. “We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia.”

She also called for NATO membership to be granted to Ukraine, another former Soviet republic.

Palin’s comments came on the same day that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Moscow had no desire to encroach upon the sovereignty of its neighbours.

“We have no desire or reason to encroach on the sovereignty of former Soviet republics,” Putin said at a Valdai Discussion Club meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

“We have no imperial ambitions,” he said.

At a summit in Bucharest in April, NATO members decided to postpone offering Georgia and Ukraine the chance to join the NATO Membership Action Plan, a key step toward full membership, but promised to review the decision in December.

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