Russia's top military officer warned that Moscow felt threatened by U.S. policy in ex-Soviet Central Asia and claimed that Washington was attempting to establish new military bases there, news agencies reported Tuesday.
Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the Russian military's general staff, said Washington planned to establish a foothold in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Interfax and ITAR-Tass reported. U.S. officials denied there were plans.
Makarov also said U.S. support for bids by Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO made Russia feel threatened. He cast doubt that relations between the countries would improve under Barack Obama.
Of course, why would they need to, when we're just sending mercenaries over there in street clothes:
Russian investigators on Tuesday charged that volunteers from the United States and a number of other countries fought on the side of Georgia in its war against Russia.
Russian news agencies reported that Aleksandr Bastyrkin, chairman of an investigative committee with the Russian prosecutor's office, said the mercenaries included nationals of the U.S., Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
Russian officials have previously accused the U.S. and Ukraine of sending servicemen to take part in the fighting in August — claims both countries have denied.
The war over the separatist province of South Ossetia devastated Georgia, crippled its military, destroyed much of the key infrastructure and uprooted more than 160,000 people. The Kremlin recognized South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia, as independent, drawing strong condemnation from the West.