7 years after the Russia-Georgia war 2008 – In retrospective
08 August, 2015
7 years after the Russia-Georgia war 2008 – In retrospective
Seven years have passed since the August War between Georgia and Russia in 2008. As a result of Russia’s intervention, 228 Georgia’s citizens, 14 police officers and 170 soldiers lost their lives, while 1747 were injured. About 150,000 people were forced out of their homes, with 30,000 among them remaining refugees to this day.

As for members of the military who perished in the conflict, latest information from Ministry of Defense names 169 soldiers deceased and 5 missing in action,
although due to no trace of them being found for 2 years and no signs of them being alive reported, they are now officially considered deceased.

Concerning war chronology, since the beginning of 2008, events unfolded relatively peacefully. Moscow, its puppet regimes and Tbilisi periodically accused each other of trying to exacerbate the situation and staging provocations.

Georgian-Russian relationship got especially tense after the Bucharest NATO Summit. At the summit, which took place in the beginning of April 2008, geotv.geleaders of its member countries declared that Georgia will definitely become a NATO member.

This statement irritated Russia immensely. Its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, responded by saying that Moscow will do everything to prevent Georgia from becoming a member of the Alliance. Vladimir Putin declared that Russia had some “internal plans” prepared in response to NATO’s position.

On the 31st of May, Russia, with the alleged purpose of restoring the railroad, let its Railway Troops into Abkhazia and completed the work a month before it was planned – one week prior to the war. Meanwhile, situation in the Tskhinvali region was becoming more and more heated. Bombardment of Georgian villages was occurring almost every day.

On the 30th of July, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a special statement, declaring that the danger of armed clash between Georgia and so-called South Ossetia was very real.

The most serious armed confrontation between Georgian Armed Forces and Ossetian armed formations occurred on the 1st of August, resulting in 6 Ossetian insurgents dead and 7 injured. Bombardment of Nuli, Avnevi, Dvani and other Georgian villages continued after the confrontation.

On the 7th of August, Georgia’s State Minister Temur Iakobashvili went to Tskhinvali for reintegration negotiations with de facto Vice Prime Minister Boris Chochiev. The meeting was also to be attended by Russia’s ambassador-at-large, Yuri Popov. However, he failed to attend, excusing himself with his car suffering a malfunction and thus remaining in Tbilisi. Iakobashvili only managed to meet with Marat Kulakhmetov, head of Russian peacekeepers, and quickly left Tskhinvali afterwards.

On the 8th of August, at about 12:30 Am, the Georgian government made a decision to restore constitutional order in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone.geotv.ge

Georgian Armed Forces became involved in the conflict with Tskhinvalian separatists and the Russian army. Up to 15,000 Russian troops crossed Georgia’s border through Roki tunnel and banks of Psou River.

Georgian formations took Tskhinvali, although the subsequent aerial attack by Russia forced them to retreat. Russian air forces also attacked military bases and landing strips located in various Georgian cities. Gori was bombed twice, with civilian structures also taking damage. Tbilisi’s Vaziani base, aircraft factory and the radar station at Kvishiani mountain were also bombed, as well as Poti’s port and military bases in Senaki and Marneuli.

Russia’s 58th army, in addition to territories controlled by Tskhinvali and Sukhumi regimes, occupied the regions of Akhalgori, Zemo Abkhazeti, Zugdidi, a few villages around Gori and village of Perevi in the Sachkhere region.

Cessation of hostilities was made possible thanks to Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France. Sarkozy’s peace plan, containing 6 clauses, was agreed upon both in Moscow and Tbilisi on the 12th of August. On the 8th of September, new details of the peace plan by Saakashvili and Medvedev were specified.
According to the ceasefire agreement, Russian armed formations had to leave the territories located outside the conflict zone within a month. From the 1st of October, European Union’s observers started their patrols in Georgia.

In order to supervise the withdrawal of Russian troops, Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, arrived to Georgia on the 10th of October and visited several villages. According to his evaluation, Moscow fulfilled the agreement only partially. Russian occupants remained in the village of Perevi, leaving it only on the 18th of October, 2010.

As for recognition of Georgia’s occupied territories as independent states, Dmitry Medvedev issued the order of recognizing Abkhazia and so-called South Ossetia on the 26th of August. Besides Russia, 5 more countries recognized the breakaway territories as independent (Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), although later both Vanuatu and Tuvalu withdrew their recognition and re-established diplomatic relations with Georgia.

On the 23rd of October, Georgia implemented a law “On Occupied Territories”, where status of Russia-occupied regions was determined and a special judicial regime established.

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