(RIA Novosti) - There is no conflict between Russia and Georgia, but the South Caucasus country's leadership is damaging bilateral relations, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday in an interview with a Mexican media mogul.
"There is no conflict between Russia and Georgia. For reasons unclear to us, the Georgian leadership is doing everything to worsen the two countries' relations," Putin told Mario Vazquez Rana.
The Russian leader said Georgia was conducting an anti-Russian policy, and that Georgia's militarization threatens stability and security in the Caucasus, reports Trend.
Relations between Georgia and Russia have been strained ever since the Western-leaning government of President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power in 2003. In March of this year, Russia banned Georgian wines and mineral water, dealing a heavy blow the ex-Soviet republic's fragile economy.
The current standoff in relations between the ex-Soviet neighbors was triggered in late September by Georgia's brief detention of four Russian officers on espionage charges, and was later exacerbated by Tblisi's subsequent threat to withdraw its support for Russia's WTO bid.