Merkel will meet Medvedev in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi for a long-planned summit. But the talks have been overshadowed by the hostilities between Georgia, which wants to reassert its authority over the breakaway province of South Ossetia, and Russia, the territory’s self-proclaimed protector.
The Russian ambassador to Germany, Vladimir Kotenev, told the daily newspaper Bild on Friday that Medvedev would present evidence to Merkel that Georgian forces had committed atrocities in South Ossetia.
“The Georgian troops have murdered women and children, set churches full of refugees on fire and flattened entire villages,” Kotenev told the paper. “We can show concrete proof of this.”
He also said that Medvedev wanted to warn Merkel against letting eastern European countries have too much influence over the EU’s policies toward Russia.
“President Medvedev doesn’t want to split the EU, but he will make clear to the chancellor that eastern European EU members shouldn’t drive the EU’s Russia policy all alone. That would prevent a true partnership,” he told Bild.
Kotenev also rejected international criticism of Moscow’s actions in the Caucasus region.
“Whoever wants to pillory Russia now is putting credence in a Georgian regime responsible for a genocide. That mocks the victims,” he said, adding that it was up to the West if a “new ice age” with Moscow developed.
Merkel earlier this week promised to have stern words with Medvedev over the conflict with Georgia. Her spokesman said that she would “make it clear” to Medvedev that the problems in the Caucasus region cannot be solved by military means, following the fighting between Russian and Georgian forces over the last week.