Russia warns of ‘horrible’ conflict if Georgia joins NATO

Russia’s prime minister has issued a stern warning to NATO on the 10th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war that incorporating Georgia could trigger a new “horrible” conflict.

Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Kommersant daily broadcast Tuesday by Russian state television that NATO’s plans to eventually offer membership to Georgia are “absolutely irresponsible” and a “threat to peace.”

Medvedev was Russia’s president during the August 2008 war, which erupted when Georgian troops tried unsuccessfully to regain control over the Moscow-backed breakaway province of South Ossetia that hosted Russian peacekeepers, and Moscow sent troops that quickly routed the Georgian military.

Georgia entirely lost control of both South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia. Russia has strengthened its military presence in both regions and recognized them as independent states.