Wednesday, Aug 20, 2008
The timing was precise. Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Russian Deputy Chief of General Staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nagovitsyn accused Israel at a Moscow news conference of arming and training the Georgian military.
Wednesday, Syrian president Bashar Assad arrives in the Russian capital for a two-day visit during which the Kremlin fully expects him to exploit the storm clouds blowing in from Georgia over Russian relations with the West to press for sophisticated weapons systems not so far released by Moscow.
On Aug. 17, DEBKAfile military sources reported Moscow’s planned retaliation for America’s missile interceptors in Poland and US-Israeli military aid to Georgia may come in the form of Iskandar surface missiles installed in Syria and its Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.
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Russian Baltic and Middle East warships, submarines and long-range bombers may be armed with nuclear warheads.
One plan on the table in Moscow to punish Israel, DEBKAfile’s sources report, is the establishment of big Russian military, naval and air bases in Syria and the release of advanced weapons systems withheld until now from Iran (the S-300 air-missile defense system) and Syria (the nuclear-capable 200 km-range Iskandar surface missile).
T prepare the ground, Gen. Nagovitsyn charged Israel with arming the Georgian military with mines, explosive charges, special explosives for clearing minefields and “eight kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles.”
He added: “In 2007, Israeli experts trained Georgian commandos in Georgia and planned to supply Tbilisi heavy weaponry, electronic weapons, tanks and other arms at a later date, but the deal didn’t work out,” he said without explaining why.
Nagovitsyn also said that Russian soldiers had detained 20 mercenaries near the Georgian city of Poti, including three Arabs, all wearing Georgian army uniforms.