Via Hot Air , we learn that Russian troops may have fired on the cars carrying the presidents of Georgia and Poland.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski, in Georgia to mark the fifth anniversary of the “Rose Revolution” that swept Saakashvili to power, had asked to see territory controlled by Russian forces, said Natalia Partskhaladze, a spokeswoman for the Georgian leader.
As the presidents’ vehicles approached a checkpoint outside the disputed South Ossetian town of Akhalgori, gunshots were fired, she said. No one was injured in the shooting and the motorcade headed back to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.
Playing the old Soviet game, the Russians first said "Who, me?" and then claimed that by approaching within shooting distance of the check point into South Ossetia, the Georgian president committed a "provocation:"
The entire incident was a “provocation,” said Lavrov, who was in Lima for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
“When the president is being invited for some celebration in Tbilisi and they put him in a car and take him to a different state, this is a true provocation,” he said.
Except, as Ed Morrissey points out, the only nation on planet earth that considers South Ossetia "another nation" is Russia:
Russia recognized South Ossetia’s independence following the Russian invasion of Georgia in August, but they are the only nation to do so. All other nations recognize Georgian sovereignty over both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which means Saakashvili has every right to enter the state. Even if that right is somehow under dispute, his approach to the checkpoint should not have been greeted with gunfire.
Moscow appears to want a new war with Georgia, having had its ambitions in the first skirmish left unrealized. However, circumstances have changed significantly since August. The price of oil has tumbled by two-thirds since its summer peak of $147 per barrel, and the Russian economy has all but collapsed with it. They can’t afford to spend billions of rubles on another military adventure, and they can’t afford to further antagonize the Western industrial nations.
All of this won't prevent Vladmir Putin from seeing what he can get away with when Obama is sitting in the Oval Office. In fact, Putin seems particularly keen on testing the mettle of our new president having made noises about basing missiles in the Baltic and along the border with Poland after the Poles had the audacity to accept a US missile shield.
Even with oil prices down, Putin and the Russians will no doubt prove to be a constant headache for the new Administration.