Russia says it opposes the deployment of European Union monitors inside two Georgian breakaway territories that Moscow now recognizes as independent countries.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov outlined his country's view Tuesday in St. Petersburg, alongside his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner. Lavrov said security in South Ossetia and a second Georgian breakaway territory, Abkhazia, will be guaranteed by thousands of Russian troops now deployed in the territories.
An EU monitoring mission entered Georgia four weeks ago, as part of a Western push to restore order following a devastating Russian military offensive in August. Moscow said it mounted the incursion in response to Georgian military efforts to regain control of South Ossetia by force.
In Moscow, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev criticized unnamed foreign countries he said are supplying arms to the Georgian government. He said Russia in the future will take this into account.
Meanwhile, Russian news agencies quote Lavrov as calling Georgia's refusal to attend talks on the future of South Ossetia in Geneva next month "regrettable." He said it is impossible to discuss issues related to security in the Caucasus without Georgia's participation.
Both Georgian and Russian delegates walked out of inaugural talks in Geneva earlier this month, after Georgia objected to the presence of separatist leaders at the session. Georgia also has rejected their presence at scheduled November 18 talks as well. But no formal decision has been announced.