Russian MFA: ‘Georgia Spy-Mania is Provocation’

Russian Foreign Ministry said that Tbilisi’s “spy story” was “a provocation” aimed at attracting attention ahead of NATO Lisbon and OSCE Astana summits.

Georgia said on November 5 it arrested nine Georgian and four Russian citizens on charges related to espionage for Russian military intelligence.

“The Saakashvili’s regime suffers from chronic spy-mania on the anti-Russian grounds. In the course of recent years, the Georgian leadership has resorted for number of times to fabrication of this kind of scandals with a cynical purpose of gaining internal political and international dividends,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

It said that the timing for “provocation” was deliberately selected ahead of number of important international events, including NATO Lisbon summit later this month and OSCE summit in Astana in December.

“Upcoming NATO Lisbon summit is a possibility for the Georgian leadership to attract attention through a scandal,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding that it reminds a similar case in April, when Georgia said at the nuclear security summit in Washington that it had foiled illicit trafficking of highly enriched uranium.

“It is obvious that at the OSCE summit in Astana on December 1-2 Georgia is preparing for voicing yet another dose of confrontational anti-Russian rhetoric, trying to impose on the participants [of the upcoming summit] its vision of situation in the Caucasus,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said and added that Tbilisi’s such approach was meeting more skepticism from the international community recently, especially after EU-funded report on causes of the August, 2008 war was released.

“Another obvious goal [of the arrest of alleged spies] is to use scarecrow of ‘Russian threat’ for maintaining anti-Russian hysteria in the country,” it said and added that such “provocation” could hardly be effective.

[Source: Civil Georgia, Tbilisi, 05Nov10]

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