Russian President Dmitry warned Monday that Moscow would repeat its military action to "defend its citizens" in spite of international criticism over Russia's engagement in a short, intense war with Georgia over the separatist region of South Ossetia, dpa reported.
Medvedev made the tough-worded statement in a speech to WWII veterans in the Russian city of Kursk even as Russia's 58th army was preparing to withdraw from the Georgian city of Gori on Monday.
"We shall never let anyone kill our citizens with impunity. Those who try, will face a crushing response," Medvedev was quoted by news agency Interfax as saying.
"Russia has the economic, political and military capacity for such a response, and no one should have any illusions on that score," Medvedev added.
Russia claimed to be defending its citizens from attack as it pushed back a Georgian offensive last week to re-assert control over its rebel region of South Ossetia, where most residents have been issued Russian passports in recent years.
Russia's front lines have occupied the strategic city of Gori in Georgian proper since Wednesday, drawing a clamour of international protest at this violation of Georgia's sovereignty.
Top Russian military officials reiterated pledges on Monday to begin the withdrawal of its troops by evening.