However, four years later, the official representative of the investigative committee of Russia Vladimir Markin declared that Ukrainian mercenaries discredited the Russian Army in course of the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008.
"The investigators obtained testimonies of witnesses who affirm that prior to the entry of Russian troops in Gori and other towns on the border with Georgia, Ukrainian contractors dressed in the form of the Russian army participated in creating photo and video footage of the alleged acts of violence and looting of Russian soldiers against the civilian population in Georgian villages, to mislead people in Georgia and the international community," he said.
The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine declares there are no evidences of participation of Ukrainian contractors in the Russian-Georgian conflict.
"Now the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry is not aware of any evidences of these confirmations, which are dissonant with the constructive spirit of the Ukrainian-Russian strategic partnership," the Foreign Ministry said commenting on the statements of Vladimir Markin.
The Foreign Ministry added that in Ukraine, as in any civilized country, the mercenary activities are defined as a crime under the national legislation, and therefore persons who committed this crime must be punished.
In a comment to ForUm, a representative of the liaison department of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine declared "the Armed Forces of Ukraine bear no relation to the military conflict between Georgia and Russia in 2008."
ForUm has asked political scientists, military experts and politicians about the probable cause of these accusations by Russian officials.
Hryhoriy Perepelitsa, expert on international policy:
- At the very beginning of the conflict Ukraine declared its support of Georgia's sovereignty, which angered the Kremlin. Russia started an information campaign against Ukraine, having accused our country of weapon supplies to Georgia and so on. Russian campaign met its goal, and even some Ukrainian media echoed the Russian ones, allegedly exposing Ukraine. Today Russia wants to justify its actions in Georgia shifting the blame to Ukrainians.
Anatoly Kinakh, MP from the Party of Regions, former secretary of the National Defense Council:
- During the conflict between Russia and Georgia, Ukraine stood for peaceful solution and slammed any use of military force, because in the end it is always civil population to suffer.
I don't think that the accusations of the investigative committee of the RF will affect the strategic relations between Ukraine and Russia. However, such questions are better to be solved within the legal system and world standards.
Dmytro Korchynski, "Brotherhood" leader, president of the Institute on regional policy and modern political science:
- August 8 was the fourth anniversary of the Russian-Georgian conflict, and the world press reports this fact one way or another. The most vivid facts of that period are looting and bombing. That's why Russia merely lay the blame on Ukraine to switch the world's attention to the current diplomatic scandal, rather than the events of 2008.
Oleksiy Melnyk, co-director of the Ukrainian Razumkov economic and political research center on the program of foreign affairs and international security:
- The Russian side has made a highlight declaration, but failed to present any proofs of Ukraine's involvement. I believe Moscow won't be able to present reliable arguments. However, being a part of the conflict Russia cannot be unbiased in this issue.
The investigation into the situation must involve not only the investigative committee of Russia, but international and independent experts as well.
It seems President Putin does not feel secure and confident any more, and he uses Ukraine again to distract the attention of his people from the internal problems. The question is whether Ukraine agrees to bear such attitude. I believe our Foreign Ministry must press on Russia to either present concrete proofs or offer apologies at the highest level.
This regular unfriendly move from the Russian side proves the real state of relations between our countries, while the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine still believes "it is a constructive spirit of Ukrainian-Russian strategic partnership."
Nika Chitadze, head of the Research Center on international issues and security (Georgia):
- It is not a secret that the relations between our countries are warm and friendly regardless of the names of current Presidents. We are grateful for Ukraine's support of Georgia's territorial integrity.
Moreover, I want to underline that Ukraine was not involved in the conflict of 2008 and Ukrainians are not responsible for looting in Georgian settlements. Those to blame are Russian soldiers and Ossetian militia men.
Today Russia cannot conceal the mass violations, which took place at that period, and tries to lay the blame on you. Ukraine must learn not to make any concessions to Russia, as Russia considers them a weakness.
The practice of discredit is an old method from soviet times.
Taras Chornovil, MP, member of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs:
- There is not point to take similar statements by Russia seriously. I remember Moscow accusing Ukraine of stealing gas or of shooting down Russian aircrafts (while it was the mistake of the very Russians). This is a standard situation - to blame it all on Ukraine.
Russia has a powerful intelligence and secret services in Georgia. If something similar had happened, it would have been impossible to conceal it. Recall who was the President of Ukraine back then and what kind of relations we had with Russia. It is obvious that the fact of Ukrainian mercenaries posing as Russian soldiers was impossible to conceal for four years. Probably, Russia wants something from Ukraine now, and hence makes such statements.
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