President Mikheil Saakashvili has called on Georgia to prepare for “total defence” against Russia. “The goal of the enemy is to gain control over Georgia,” he said at the Georgian Ministry of Defence on Thursday, and exhorted his countrymen, “to burn every square metre under their feet.”
Before the war in 2008 the Gerogian army’s first duty was peacekeeping, the president said. But now the most important task before them was to halt the advance into Georgia, followed by the liberation of territories including Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Speaking live on national television he told Georgians on Wednesday that the leaders of his armed forces should prepare not only total defence but also a sustainable defence. This should include long-term courses at military school and continued military reforms, he said. He added that Afghanistan was a good training ground for Georgian forces and that he wants to send more soldiers there.
“The goal of our enemy is to gain control over Georgia and he is working intensively on this task,”georgia reported. “Our final goal is the complete de-occupation of Georgian territory.”
“He wants to send messages to the world that Russia is the aggressor,” Masha Lipman of the Carnegie Centre said. “That Russia is ready to attack Georgia at any point…He is alarmed and he wants everybody else to be alarmed.”
She added that Russia did not attack Georgia the first time and that it would not do so this time, “I can make no sense of it whatsoever.”