04:50 GMT27 February 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – NATO should not accept Georgia as its member because it might lead to a military conflict since Moscow recognizes the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Tbilisi considers its territory, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

    The prime minister recalled NATO’s recent statement that Georgia would become the alliance’s member.

    "It is an absolutely irresponsible position. It is just a threat to peace. This can undoubtedly lead to a potential conflict because we consider Abkhazia and South Ossetia independent states. We have friendly relations with these states. Our military bases are located there," Medvedev said in an interview with Russia's Kommersant newspaper.

    The Russian prime minister noted that NATO’s decision to accept Georgia might lead to very grave consequences.

    "That is why I hope that NATO’s leadership will be smart enough not to make any moves in this direction," Medvedev noted.

    Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of a military conflict between Moscow and Georgia, after which Russia formally recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both republics proclaimed their independence from Georgia back in the early 1990s.

    The Prime Minister also said that Russia would welcome the restoration of diplomatic ties with Georgia if Tbilisi shows readiness to do so.

    READ MORE: Growing Georgia-NATO Ties Threaten Regional Security — Moscow

    "We are ready to build relations with the new [Georgian] leadership… If our Georgian colleagues are ready to do this, we will not object," Medvedev said.

    Georgia cut diplomatic ties with Russia in 2008.


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