POLITICS
BBC: Georgians mourn Russian land grab in South Ossetia war
09 August, 2017
On august 8, Hundreds of Georgians formed a human chain near the Russian-occupied breakaway region of South Ossetia. BBC devoted an article to this event showing unity of Georgian nation and their protest against occupation.

The war still continues, it did not finish in 2008. The occupation of our country still continues daily. We are Georgians and our country is occupied by Russia, because Russian forces still remain on our land – that was the main message of the protest.

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Here is what BBC writes about the peaceful protest organized by Georgians on 8th August (9th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia war), near the border of South Ossetia:

Several hundred Georgians have formed a human chain on a main road near the country's Russian-controlled South Ossetia region.

"The war did not finish in 2008 - it continues every day, because the Russian occupiers are on our land," said protest organiser David Katsarava.

Young and old held hands and stood in silence under the scorching sun.

Many held Georgian flags and banners condemning Russia's occupation, which gave firepower to pro-Russian rebels.

"Our aim is to unite people and to give them the feeling that it's possible to change something in this war," says Mr Katsarava.

In early August 2008, Georgia attempted to recapture breakaway South Ossetia, which had fought a separatist war with Georgia in the 1990s.

The fighting in 2008 escalated after cross-border skirmishes.

Russia responded with a massive invasion. It also seized control of Abkhazia, in support of separatists there. Both regions are internationally recognised as Georgian territory.

The five-day war ended in humiliation for Georgia - several towns, a Black Sea port and military airfields were bombed by the Russian air force.

Several hundred people were killed and thousands of ethnic Georgians displaced by the conflict. Georgian villages in South Ossetia were razed to the ground.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is conducting an investigation into alleged war crimes committed during the war.

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What is South Ossetia?

Georgia timeline

South Ossetia, officially part of Georgia, is separated from the North Ossetia region of Russia by an international border. It is inhabited mostly by Ossetians, who are ethnically and linguistically distinct from other peoples in the region. Most ethnic Georgians have been displaced from South Ossetia by conflict.

Georgia, including South Ossetia, was part of the Russian empire in the 19th Century. After the 1917 communist revolution, Georgia became independent but it was declared part of the Soviet Union in 1921.

After the 2008 war, Moscow recognised South Ossetia as an independent state and began a process of closer ties that Georgia views as effective annexation.

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South Ossetia and Abkhazia depend on Russia militarily and financially. Thousands of Russian troops are stationed in the two regions.

Moscow has signed strategic agreements with both regions, bringing them firmly into its sphere of influence.

While the Georgian protest was taking place Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting Abkhazia.

Just last week US Vice President Mike Pence visited Georgia. He voiced strong US support for Georgia's territorial integrity, and the two countries launched their biggest ever joint military exercises.

Related stories:

Vladimir Putin pays a visit to Abkhazia

Putin visits Abkhazia and assures it of Russia's military support


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