In an attempt to calm fears of a new cold war, one of Moscow’s most powerful figures has said that Russia will not attack any of its neighbors and has no claim over any of the states it lost after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Sergei Ivanov, deputy to Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, promised that Russia’s intentions were entirely peaceful despite its invasion of Georgia. Moscow officials insist that its military operations in August were provoked by Georgian aggression.
“We are not aggressive,” Ivanov said in an interview. “We have recognized the territorial integrity of all former Soviet republics. That was in 1991. Russia, of course, has no territorial ambitions regarding any former Soviet countries.
“We are not going to start a war or attack any country. Right now, in fact, Russia isn’t fighting any war at all. If you analyze how many wars the United States and Britain are fighting, it’s quite different.”
Relations between Russia and the West froze during the summer after Georgian troops attacked the pro-Russian enclave of South Ossetia. Moscow immediately launched a counter-offensive, sending its tanks into Georgia.