Russia Is Playing Its Old Georgia Tricks With Ukraine

( In a recent op-ed at Foreign Policy, Natia Seskuria argues that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mirrors the playbook it used in Georgia in 2008.

Just like it did in Georgia’s occupied territories, Russia illegally distributed Russian passports to the Ukrainians living in the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine to set up the pretense that Russian troops were moving into the region to protect Russian citizens.

As it has in Ukraine, before its hostilities in Georgia, Russian forces began evacuating these so-called civilians from the Tskhinvali region. This was followed by the Kremlin justifying its aggression in Georgia by claiming it was protecting Russian citizens.

The Kremlin must believe if it worked for them in Georgia, they might as well try the same tactics in Ukraine.

The second round of talks between the Russian and Ukraine delegations was scheduled to begin in Belarus on Thursday. But thus far, a solution to the crisis may still be out of reach.

In an interview on Russian state television on Thursday, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused some foreign leaders of preparing for war against Russia and vowed that Moscow would continue its military operation in Ukraine until “the end.”

Lavrov also dismissed the concerns of the United States that Russia is planning to use its nuclear arsenal, claiming that Russia had no thoughts of starting a nuclear war.

Lavrov said he did not doubt that there is a solution to the crisis in Ukraine. But he added that Russia’s dialogue with the West must be based on mutual respect. And while Russia is full of goodwill, Lavrov said, it would not permit anyone to undermine its interests.

Regarding the ongoing talks, Lavrov said that Moscow will not allow Ukraine to keep infrastructure that is a threat to Russia, nor would Moscow tolerate a “military threat” from Ukraine.

Lavrov denied Ukraine’s accusations that Russian forces have targeted civilian populations, saying that Russian troops are under strict orders to target military infrastructure.

Without a shred of evidence, Lavrov also claimed that the Kremlin had information that the United States was most afraid of losing control of the chemical and biological laboratories in Ukraine.