(Le Figaro - Isabelle Lasserre) The Russian president affirmed that the military offensive against Georgia was premeditated and prepared by the General Staff under his orders. He also acknowledged that the Russian military had armed and trained local militiamen in South Ossetia, one of Georgia's separatist regions, in the centre of the August 2008 conflict.
Contrary to what Moscow had always claimed - that the military offensive launched on August 8, 2008 had been a response to Tbilisi’s surprise attack on South Ossetia 24 hours earlier - the Georgian war was planned by the Russian General Staff almost two years before the events. It is Vladimir Putin himself who has just confirmed that on television. "There was a plan, it's not a secret ... It's within the framework of this plan that Russia acted. It was prepared by the General Staff at the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007. It was approved by me, agreed with me," said the Russian president who sat already at the steering wheel at the time, as prime minister. According to this plan, heavy weapons and troops were mobilised and prepared in sight of an impending invasion of Georgia.
At the end of this five-day blitzkrieg, Russia recognised the independence of two Georgian breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Contrary to the international peace plan imposed on belligerents by Nicolas Sarkozy, Moscow maintains there since substantial military forces.
Shattering previous statements that, until the war, Moscow maintained only "peacekeepers" in the separatist regions, Putin also acknowledged for the first time that the Russian military had for more than two years trained local militiamen before the offensive against the regime in Tbilisi, in total violation of international laws. "Within the framework of this plan, South Ossetian militiamen were trained", he said, adding "Our military experts initially believed that these militias could not help in a confrontation between regular armies, but in fact they have been very helpful."
For further details see Le Figaro’s article (in French) at this link: http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2012/08/10/01003-20120810ARTFIG00541-poutine-reconnait-avoir-planifie-la-guerre-en-georgie.php