Medvedev vows to protect compatriots in South Ossetia

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev vowed on Friday to defend “compatriots” in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia and promised to punish those responsible for their deaths.

“Under the Constitution and the Federal law … I must protect the life and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are,” he said in a televised statement.

“We will not allow their deaths to go unpunished. Those responsible will receive a deserved punishment.”

Up to 90 percent of the population of South Ossetia carry Russian passports.

“This night in South Ossetia the Georgian troops in fact committed an act of aggression against Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population,” he said.

“This is a rude violation of international law and mandates once issued to Russia by the international community.”

Medvedev also said Russia was and will remain a security guarantor for the Caucasus people.

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