By every indicator, Russia appears to be forcibly (re-) annexing the sovereign nation of Georgia. This begs the question of what comes next. Russia has been audibly unhappy with the pro-western sentiments of the Ukraine, and the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania must be getting a little bit nervous. Belarus, which sits between Ukraine and the Baltic states, is a close ally of Moscow and is already well within their sphere of influence, anyway.
That Russian president Dmitry Medvedev called a "halt to military action" is meaningless in the context of the rest of his statements.
Medvedev said on national television that the military had punished Georgia enough for its attack on South Ossetia. Georgia launched an offensive late Thursday to regain control over the separatist Georgian province, which has close ties to Russia.Sounds to me like the neo-Soviets are planning on sticking around in Georgia for a while. Beyond their apparent plans to occupy Georgia indefinitely, Russia is hinting that they don't see much need for Georgia's president to stick around.
"The security of our peacekeepers and civilians has been restored," Medvedev said. "The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. Its military has been disorganized."
The Russian president, however, said he ordered the military to defend itself and quell any signs of Georgian resistance.
"If there are any emerging hotbeds of resistance or any aggressive actions, you should take steps to destroy them," he told his defense minister at a televised Kremlin meeting.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier Tuesday that Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili should leave office and that Georgian troops should stay out of South Ossetia permanently.If I were one of Russia's western neighbors, I'd be sweating a little right about now.
Update: Ed Morrissey at Hot Air sees things the same way vis a vis Russia's long-term plans for Georgia.