UK Foreign Secretary Calls Russia Main Threat to International Peace

TBILISI – UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Wednesday called Russia the greatest threat to global peace due to its blatant disregard for international legal and ethical norms.

"Russia ignores the norms of accepted conduct and breaks the rules of the international system. That represents a challenge and a threat to all of us," Hammond said when asked whether Russia under its increasingly autocratic President Vladimir Putin remains a threat to the global community.

Hammond demanded that Moscow begin cooperating with the West in good faith and play a more constructive role in the world “under the same international norms that responsible countries operate from.”

Russia remains a major threat to the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Georgia and Ukraine, as Moscow’s attempts to stir anti-Western sentiments and foment pro-Russian separatist movements in the former republics of the Soviet Union.

Putin’s hyper-reactive use of force and asymmetrical methods of undermining the authority of sovereign governments on its immediate borders constitutes a clear and present danger to international security, Hammond said.

Hammond was in Tbilisi to meet with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikasvili to discuss security issues in the Caucasus region and to visit the South Caucasus Pipeline, operated by British energy giant BP.

Kvirikasvili was quick to thank Hammond for the UK government’s continued support for Georgia’s territorial integrity, which he said reiterated the close alliance forged between London and Tbilisi immediately after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

In his comments to the press, Kvirikashvili said the current security situation in Georgia is similar to problems facing Ukraine, as both countries suffer from Russia’s support for heavily armed pro-Russian separatist movements.

"Georgia and Ukraine have the same problem…Russia violates our sovereignty. It will be continue to be a significant security challenge for Georgia if Russia refuses to recognize the territorial integrity and free will of our people," Kvirikashvili said.

Russia continues to support Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with massive military personnel and substantial state subsidies. Like the current conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, Moscow and its local proxies fought bloody separatist wars against federal authorities in an attempt to install pro-Russian governments in the rebel regions.

By Nicholas Waller

31 March 2016 11:13