This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 15, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, his nation under attack, Georgian Mikhail Saakashvili will not surrender, ever.
He is here with us now, joining us out of Georgia.
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Mr. President, can you hear us?
MIKHAIL SAAKASHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: I can hear you well.
CAVUTO: Mr. President, how are you holding up?
SAAKASHVILI: Well, we are holding.
I said from the very beginning that we will never surrender to this brutal Russian aggression and invasion. The Russian tanks have been going around the country. We had, today, Secretary Rice here. We had very good talks. On our part, we signed cease-fire agreement, and we are waiting for the Russians to withdraw and leave it with most of their troops in my country, but they are still not moving, and, basically, they are even widening their areas of occupation at this moment, as we speak.
CAVUTO: So, Mr. President, the Russians say they are withdrawing. You are saying they are lying?
SAAKASHVILI: Well, I am just saying what I am saying.
It is easy to verify. They occupied three or four new urban centers. And they are moving around the country. Not only they are moving around the country, that they brought in lots of irregulars and mercenaries with them go around, loot, or kill, rampage.
I have heard the Human Rights Watch report. This is the human rights watchdog that goes around. And it basically talks about tremendous atrocities done by people who came in with Russians committed against populations. So, we really are seeing crimes against humanity.
It is not my words. I am not playing -- doing blame game now. This is impartial observers saying that in my country and as time goes by.
CAVUTO: Mr. President, part of the agreement that was cobbled together to get the fighting to stop, and that Condoleezza Rice was a part of, allows for Russian peacekeepers to remain in South Ossetia. That was a sticking point for you. And I am told that you were against that, but ultimately decided to accept that.
How long are those peacekeepers going to be there?
SAAKASHVILI: No, I -- we all know that these are not peacekeepers. We know that these are occupiers.
What we accepted is that these occupiers should withdraw from the rest of the country. And, there, we should have urgent international mechanisms found and general international peacekeepers should be brought on the ground. I will never reconcile, never ever, that any of these criminals -- and that is what basically most of them are, because they have been involved in all these atrocities -- stay on my territory under some pretext of being peacekeepers or basically -- they are peacekeepers in terms of keeping peace here and peace there of their former empire.
But that's not the way the world should function. And there should be no vindication over -- for their aggression. We are no longer living in the (INAUDIBLE) invasion of Afghanistan or Czechoslovakia for that purpose. The international community, I think, is waking up. There was very strong statement by President Bush, several statements. I am grateful for that one. We had good talks with Secretary Rice. There is concerted efforts now by some European states finally to do something about it.
And my people are holding well, despite all these provocations, despite all these atrocities. They have used -- the Russians used cluster bombs banned by international convention against a peaceful population. They have fired at us medium-range SS-21 missiles. Soviet Union had the SS-20, but they never fired them at anybody. Soviet Union didn't fire in Cold War times.
And now these Russians are firing those missiles at mostly residential areas, as well as a pipeline carrying Caspian oil to European destinations. That is where we are.
CAVUTO: Mr. President, there are reports that our country and others had warned before you moved on South Ossetia week that the Russians were -- had a huge response planned, in other words, that this move would be a mistake, and that you ignored that advice.
CAVUTO: Is that true?
SAAKASHVILI: No, wait a minute. Wait a minute. We did not move on South Ossetia. We responded to Russians moving in. That's exactly what they were saying, that there is a Russian buildup over the border. That's exactly what we were saying as well.
We were saying that the Russians are preparing intervention, that the world should do something about it. But, unfortunately, response came to - - the response that came was too little and too late. And they came in, and they came in. And we were led to -- we were basically in the beginning alone against this machine, but that we had choices of to resist or to surrender.
And, basically, we chose to resist, although it came at a price. And, you know, what else -- even if our forces are so grossly unequal, what else would any responsible government or democracy do? Democracies do not surrender. Democracies are responsible for safety of their own people. If you are fired at...
SAAKASHVILI: ... tanks from neighboring countries come...
CAVUTO: All right. I am sorry, Mr. President.
CAVUTO: They claim, the Russians claim and some of these intelligence figures claim that you, in fact, started this, and they had warned you that, while you might be justified in starting it, while you might be justified, that you created the mess we have. What do you make of that?
SAAKASHVILI: Look, Russians can claim just whatever they want. This is exactly the kind of thing they were clinging, that Czechoslovakia provoked them in 1968, or that Finland attacked them in 1939. Any military expert can tell you that, if someone goes into a neighboring country, they can't mobilize within three, four hours 1,200 tanks.
Those tanks should have been long time ago on the roll and moving, and not just waiting somewhere and responding to us, that they were already moving in, as well as, you know, they had whole infrastructure built in. They mobilized reserves one week before fighting, and thereby created every woman and child from the area of fighting.
And this all clearly indicates that this was very well thought, prepared plan, and they executed it. And then we had to respond. And we responded. And it is hard to blame the victim for the aggression of the murderer or whoever.
But, you know, the fact is the fact, that, you know, there was a long time invasion. This is not the first thing Russia has introduced against us, full-blown embargo a few years ago. We survived, developed very well. They bombed us from time to time. We didn't pay much attention. We continued to develop.
They provoked us in all different directions. We did not get provoked. But when they start to shoot at you, when they start to bomb you, when they start to kill your people, and when they start to move in, and their attacks take such a large scale, then no democratic government can ever ignore it. And that is exactly what we have done. It is very unfortunate what is happening here.
It really is a worst nightmare any president of any country can find himself in. But that is, unfortunately, our fate at this stage. And we will overcome. We will arise. As I said, we are not going to surrender. They want regime change in Tbilisi and Georgia. They will not get it. They want to keep -- they wanted to rampage our cities, destroying our infrastructure. We will rebuild it.
They want to keep pieces of our territory. We will regain them. There is no way I can even reconcile...