Medvedev: West will suffer more than Moscow

Russian president says NATO will lose more than Russia if ties severed, Moscow doesn't fear G-8 expulsion.

medvedev fierce 224.88 ap (photo credit:)
medvedev fierce 224.88 ap
(photo credit: )
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sternly warned the West on Tuesday that it would lose more than Moscow if it tried to punish Russia with sanctions over the war with Georgia. In an interview with Italian RAI television broadcast Tuesday, Medvedev said that Russia does not fear expulsion from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations. "The G-8 will be practically unable to function without Russia, because it can make decisions only if they reflect the opinion of top global economies and leading political players of the world," Medvedev said. "That's why we don't fear being expelled from the G-8." US presidential candidate John McCain was among those who called for Russia's expulsion from the elite club of the world's richest countries. Without naming any names, Medvedev alleged that calls for Russia's expulsion from the G-8 were rooted in "electoral technologies." "I attribute these calls to electoral technologies, a desire to boost ratings using some conflict. If Iran isn't enough, why not take the Caucasus issue," he said. Medvedev's remarks followed statements from his predecessor and patron, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has recently accused the United States of instigating the fighting in Georgia in connection with the US presidential campaign - the claim the White House dismissed as "patently false." Medvedev also warned that NATO would suffer more than Russia if ties with Moscow were severed. "We don't see anything dramatic or difficult about suspending our relations if that's the wish of our partners," Medvedev said. "But I think that our partners will lose more from that." NATO nations depend on Russia to move supplies to the alliance troops in Afghanistan. Medvedev said Moscow would not agree to any contacts with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, whom he called a "political corpse." Medvedev also criticized the United States for arming the Georgian military and claimed that Washington had given a green light to Saakashvili to launch the Aug. 7 offensive to regain control over the breakaway province of South Ossetia. "Regrettably, at some point they have given Mr. Saakashvili a carte blanche for any actions, including the military actions," Medvedev said. Russia responded by sending a large military force that quickly drove Georgian troops out and pushed deep into Georgia proper. The ferocity of the Russian onslaught and the subsequent recognition by Moscow of the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian province of Abkhazia has driven Russia-West relations to their lowest point in years. Medvedev warned the United States that Russia will respond to the planned deployment of US missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic, but he did not specify what measures Russia would take.