Shots fired at Polish, Georgian presidents, while Russia claims “provocation”

posted at 7:48 am on November 24, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The presidents of both Georgia and Poland heard gunfire as their motorcade approached the disputed province of South Ossetia, nominally Georgian territory.  Russia denied firing on the motorcade, but their foreign minister accused Mikhail Saakashvili of a “provocation” by driving close to the border:

Russia denied its troops fired on a motorcade carrying Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his Polish counterpart near the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

“There was no shooting from our positions or from the position of the South Ossetia troops,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters late yesterday in Peru’s capital, Lima. …

As the presidents’ vehicles approached a checkpoint outside the disputed South Ossetian town of Akhalgori, gunshots were fired, she said. No one was injured in the shooting and the motorcade headed back to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

The entire incident was a “provocation,” said Lavrov, who was in Lima for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

“When the president is being invited for some celebration in Tbilisi and they put him in a car and take him to a different state, this is a true provocation,” he said.

Russia recognized South Ossetia’s independence following the Russian invasion of Georgia in August, but they are the only nation to do so.  All other nations recognize Georgian sovereignty over both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which means Saakashvili has every right to enter the state.  Even if that right is somehow under dispute, his approach to the checkpoint should not have been greeted with gunfire.

Moscow appears to want a new war with Georgia, having had its ambitions in the first skirmish left unrealized.  However, circumstances have changed significantly since August.  The price of oil has tumbled by two-thirds since its summer peak of $147 per barrel, and the Russian economy has all but collapsed with it.  They can’t afford to spend billions of rubles on another military adventure, and they can’t afford to further antagonize the Western industrial nations.

In the summer, they had Europe over a barrel (of oil).  Now that power differential has reversed somewhat, and Russia needs European assistance to survive.  And Europe may not be all that interested in assisting Vladimir Putin with his czarist ambitions, especially when Russia shoots at the president of an EU nation.  Expect the eastern European nations to become especially cold to Putin, Medvedev, and the Russian calls for assistance.


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President-Elect Obama to the Red Phone Please.

President-Elect Obama? Call on line one.

Browncoatone on November 24, 2008 at 7:57 AM

In almost a century, Communist thugs have never changed their tactics. On the other hand, if those tactics are premised on the lack of human courage, perhaps there is no reason to change.

FalseProfit on November 24, 2008 at 7:57 AM

But what will our own future president say about this?

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 7:58 AM

Sounds as if the Russian mafia is running the state and it’s army’s! But don’t worry CHANGE is coming!

grapeknutz on November 24, 2008 at 7:59 AM

If true, this is troubling. Russia must know that the USA will not stand idly by and watch them put their empire back together by force. If they do it again after Obama gets in office they better stand by to negotiate!

kanda on November 24, 2008 at 8:01 AM

But, but, but, this isn’t supposed to happen Obama got elected! Did someone forget to tell pooty-poot?

boomer on November 24, 2008 at 8:02 AM

Browncoatone on November 24, 2008 at 7:57 AM

He can’t. He’s playing basketball. It’s more important than church! /sarc off

What a Leader!

See people. Change IS coming!

kingsjester on November 24, 2008 at 8:07 AM

Well, there you go – the solution to our economic woes – WWIII. Works every time.

OldEnglish on November 24, 2008 at 8:11 AM

The EU & NATO won’t say anything until Georgian president makes clear what he wants to do about this. What worries me most about this is that the Polish president fired upon. That’s because he’s allowing us to put our missile shield there. There is no telling what Putin will do about that. (but after bambi is sworn in)

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 8:13 AM

While it is true that it took WWII to get the US (and the rest of the world) out of the Great Depression, I would prefer that another European war not be the stimulus this time.

Especially because now there are nuclear weapons.

rbj on November 24, 2008 at 8:13 AM

Hmm, another war was started with supposed Polish provocation. Except it wasn’t the Poles that started it…..

But let’s get back to the important news of the day: What will Michelle Obama wear to the inaugaration????

mjk on November 24, 2008 at 8:14 AM

And Bush is being so nice to bambi, he probably won’t do anything so as “not to commit” bambi to anything (other the zillion domestic & foreign crises present).

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 8:14 AM

It doesn’t matter what michelle, my belle, wears because MSM will declare it the greatest costume since Jackie K. O.

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 8:15 AM

President-Elect Obama to the Red Phone Please.

President-Elect Obama? Call on line one.

Browncoatone on November 24, 2008 at 7:57 AM

Was Biden talking about Obama being tested within six months before or six months after the election.

Johan Klaus on November 24, 2008 at 8:20 AM

Maybe its celebration shots from the
neighborhood community organizing
welcome wagon!
——————————–

Where the h#ll is Pelosi when you need
her,this needs an immediate investigation
and special prosecutor, as to why Hopey/
Changey isn’t in the Oval Office making
brilliant Liberal Chnages on this ‘shooting
crisis’!

And where is the Lefty MSM on this shooting
situation,I mean,the shooters are probably
suffering from low ammunition supplies,

where the h#ll is their ammunition bailout,
by the time the shooters get stocked back up,
the targets will be long gone!—(Snark!) A hem.

canopfor on November 24, 2008 at 8:23 AM

?

Johan Klaus on November 24, 2008 at 8:23 AM

yes! let’s bailout the Russian army!

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 8:27 AM

But what will our own future president say about this?

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 7:58 AM

*crickets chirping*

obama is voting “present”

rightside on November 24, 2008 at 8:28 AM

Russia recognized South Ossetia’s independence following the Russian invasion of Georgia in August, but they are the only nation to do so.

Sorry, Ed, but I have to put on my Andy Levy Ombudsman cap.

Nicaragua also recognizes South Ossetia’s independence.

Daniel Ortega’s steadfast show of support for the Russian regime is somewhat startling, and adds another chord of complexity to this intense issue.

MB007 on November 24, 2008 at 8:30 AM

I hope the are some military surprises installed in Georgia since the recent Russian invasion to end future incursions quickly.

Right_of_Attila on November 24, 2008 at 8:30 AM

Expect the eastern European nations to become especially cold to Putin, Medvedev, and the Russian calls for assistance

.

I hope you are right Ed.

Zorro on November 24, 2008 at 8:31 AM

I don’t the European nations will be cold (or too cold) to Russia now because in the end, Europe needs the oil.

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 8:34 AM

When is something actually going to be done with Russia over this? Can’t the UN vote sanctions or something on Moscow? Eh, nevermind…the UN…pfft.

And if Saakashvili is still close to the Russian border…but certainly not over it, then any shots fired by the Russians are clearly provocative.

This really should be a UN problem to rectify, but I guess when Russia has a seat on the Security Council, all we’ll hear is the sound of crickets chirping.

JetBoy on November 24, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Hmm, another war was started with supposed Polish provocation. Except it wasn’t the Poles that started it…..

mjk on November 24, 2008 at 8:14 AM

Funny how history keeps repeating it’s self!

grapeknutz on November 24, 2008 at 8:42 AM

and they can’t afford to further antagonize the Western industrial nations.

Why? What can the europeans do or will barry do to them? You think some financial problems slow down the russians? The soviet union never worked financially but that didn’t slow them down.

Moscow appears to want a new war with Georgia

The day after inauguration, bet on it.

peacenprosperity on November 24, 2008 at 8:43 AM

But what will our own future president say about this?

kelley in virginia on November 24, 2008 at 7:58 AM

*crickets chirping*

obama is voting “present”

rightside on November 24, 2008 at 8:28 AM

He will issues a blanket statement requesting “restraint” from all parties.

forest on November 24, 2008 at 8:45 AM

Gents, the dirty little secret of Eurotrash Greensnob Cap&Trade is that Euroweenies who claim to be “carbon neutral” are completely dependent upon Russian nuclear energy, oil, and gas to do it. So regardless of how low the price of oil goes in the short term, Vlad I knows he has Europe over a Green barrel simply because they collectively stuck their heads in the sand and refused to build more energy infrastructure of their own.

Wanderlust on November 24, 2008 at 9:02 AM

The presidents of both Georgia and Poland heard gunfire as their motorcade approached the disputed province of South Ossetia, nominally Georgian territory.

Now if we were to define an ambiguous word, like some “scholars” do as “a word fitly spoken” this would be an ambiguous word.

From Wiki:

The adjective nominal (ultimately from Latin nōmen, “name”) generally relates to the concept of names, and often to the difference between what something is in name (ideally or theoretically) and what it is in reality.

LevStrauss on November 24, 2008 at 9:13 AM

Russia is planning a major play on Georgia/Ukraine/Poland area, and their pipelines that feed Europe, probably this coming summer. first it may be something more minor to test Obama…all seems rather obvious.

jp on November 24, 2008 at 9:23 AM

As a strong conservative, I am loathe to say this but….. Bush and his team should have played tough with the Soviets. There should have been NO Soviet troops or its supporters in that region to begin with. Obama, by his showing so far, will not reign in those stinking Communists. Carter era here we come.

MNDavenotPC on November 24, 2008 at 9:30 AM

He can’t. He’s playing basketball. It’s more important than church!

kingsjester on November 24, 2008 at 8:07 AM

Actually, when you consider his taste in “churches”, we might all be better off with him at the gym.

No one at the gym is screaming “God Damn America1!”, I don’t think.

Jaibones on November 24, 2008 at 9:45 AM

In Soviet(Putin) Russia international incident provokes you.

BohicaTwentyTwo on November 24, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Okay, now attempted assassinations, covered up with “provocation” stories.

Poland’s president is going to die. Bet on it.

Which will probably happen DAYS before Obama takes over, and in the end, Bush will puss out and allow Obama to make the call rather than exercise his duties in his last days.

And Obama will balk and ask for negotiations, and Russia will most likely be ceded all power to drill in the arctic circle, which we’ve been arguing over for years.

MadisonConservative on November 24, 2008 at 10:29 AM

Maybe Dick Cheney was quail hunting in the area! Real snipers don’t shoot unless the one shot will result in a kill. The old U.S. Marine and Army rules used to be ONE SHOT–ONE KILL.

John Bibb

rocketman on November 24, 2008 at 11:09 AM

I blame George Bush… This is clearly a ploy between Bushitler and Putin to allow Bush to declare martial law and rule by decree.

There, I said it so the nutroots won’t have to…

darkpixel on November 24, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Russia denied firing on the motorcade, but their foreign minister accused Mikhail Saakashvili of a “provocation” by driving close to the border:

Wow, are the Russians running the same playbook as the No H8′ers? They both seem to have really low thresholds of provocation.

Y-not on November 24, 2008 at 11:59 AM

President-Elect Obama to the Red Phone Please.

President-Elect Obama? Call on line one.

Browncoatone on November 24, 2008 at 7:57 AM

“Present.”

dominigan on November 24, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Obama will be the first president in US history to begin his first day in office cowering under his desk.

csdeven on November 24, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Hmm, another war was started with supposed Polish provocation. Except it wasn’t the Poles that started it…..

mjk on November 24, 2008 at 8:14 AM

Funny how history keeps repeating it’s self!

grapeknutz on November 24, 2008 at 8:42 AM

It would be funny if it wasn’t so scary.
I think I’ll go home tonight & watch my $5 DVD of Red Dawn from Walmart. I’ve already recommended it to my HS students.
Cold War II-here we come-or maybe not? Hot war I?

Badger40 on November 24, 2008 at 2:17 PM

Obama will be the first president in US history to begin his first day in office cowering under his desk.

csdeven on November 24, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Yep, he’ll be under there at 3:00 AM sucking his thumb, along with his new SoS Hitlery, with the red phone ringing off the hook.

UltimateBob on November 24, 2008 at 2:21 PM