Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 24

The August 2 issue of Vremya Novostei reported that, on the previous day, “the commander of the Russian paratroops, Georgy Shpak, declared directly that the paratroops, if they are given a command, are prepared to conduct a special operation in the Pankisi Gorge to neutralize detachments of Chechen rebels.” The deputy head of the international committee of the Council of Federation, Mikhail Margelov, whose views frequently reflect those of the Kremlin, affirmed that “the introduction of Russian troops onto the territory of Georgia would not lead to the unleashing of war between Russia and Georgia. ‘The U.S. and Britain [he noted] are not warring with Afghanistan. It is a struggle with terrorism.'”