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Asked in an interview about Nato's recent affirmation that Georgia would at some point become a member, he warned that this could lead to "terrible conflict".

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia said it greatly appreciates the global community's support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the peaceful settlement of the conflict. "What Russia did and is doing against a sovereign government is a war between Russia Georgia, it's aggression, it's an occupation and it's a violation of all global norms", president Giorgi Margvelashvili told ministers from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine at a meeting in the capital Tbilisi.

In August 2008, following Russia's aggression against Georgia, the two breakaway northern regions declared independence.

"This is a war against Georgia, an aggression, an occupation, and a blatant violation of global law", Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili told a round table meeting attended by Georgian government officials and visiting foreign ministers of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine's vice premier.

It called the operations an "unprecedented attempt by Russian Federation to demonstrate its military power" and threaten Georgia, a tiny Caucasian country sandwiched between Russian Federation and Turkey on the Black Sea.

"Any illegitimate activity is unacceptable for us", Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said.

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Gates was hired by Manafort to serve as deputy campaign chairman and later had a role on Mr Trump's inaugural committee. Gates and Manafort were not targets of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time of the interview.

"We also want to remind you that what happened in Georgia, where 20% of the territory was occupied, should not be repeated because sometimes we are too weak in our reactions", he added.

Earlier this summer, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders discussed closer ties with Georgia and Ukraine at their summit in Brussels.

In turn, earlier the President of Russia Vladimir Putin said that Moscow negatively reacted to the entry of Georgia and Ukraine into North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Under NATO rules, countries with territorial conflicts can not join the alliance.

While around 75% of Georgians said they were in favour of a possible Georgia's accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, 81% voiced support for European Union membership.

Georgian soldiers observe terrain near Gori, Georgia northwest of capital Tbilisi in a file image from 2008.


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