More News From South Ossetia – Georgia – Russia

by on August 11, 2008 · 4 comments

in War and Peace, World News

South Ossetians flee cellars for safety in Russia

by Dmitry Solovyov / Reuters / August 11, 2008

georgia-battle-map.gifJAVA, Georgia, Aug 11 (Reuters) – A safe haven in Russia was almost within sight for refugees from South Ossetia’s besieged capital on Monday as they waited in parched streets for buses to ferry them over the border. Java, between South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali and the border with Russian North Ossetia, has become a staging area for people fleeing cellars where they hid from Georgian shelling that Moscow says has nearly destroyed their city.

Some wearing only dressing gowns and sneakers, they fled Tskhinvali and surrounding villages carrying plastic bags of clothes and documents, and some scant food supplies. Some had walked down through the mountains and slept in forests to get to Java, where buses collected them for the journey to the North Ossetian capital Vladikavkaz. Russian artillery fired from Java’s outskirts as columns of tanks, armoured vehicles, howitzers and rocket launchers flowed in. South Ossetian men wielding Kalashnikov assault rifles and wearing flip-flops loitered in the shade.

“There is so much machinery flowing in from both sides. I am afraid the fighting will be so fierce there won’t be a house left standing,” said Zaira Slanova, aged 70, a retired engineer from Tskhinvali. She was waiting for her sister, aged 77, to join her in Java for the short ride to Vladikavkaz. Her children, who live in Moscow, had arranged transport over the border, she said.

Slanova said she had spent four days hiding in a cellar as Georgian troops shelled Tskhinvali. Two days into the siege, an elderly man was killed by a mortar on the street outside. “We all suffered two days from the terrible stench of putrefaction as he was decomposing in the scorching heat,” Slanova said. “So we just buried him on the spot where he died.”

“Putin Defends Us”

South Ossetia, which fought to break free from Georgian rule in 1991-92, maintains close ties with its Russian North Ossetia. Most of South Ossetia’s 70,000 people hold Russian citizenship, entitling them to Russian state benefits. South Ossetia’s affinity with Russia has been a thorn in the side of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who took power in a 2006 grassroots revolution. His aspirations to join NATO and promises to ensure territorial integrity have won support from Western governments.

“If Saakashvili stood in front of me, I would wish him eternal hell after what we have been through,” an elderly woman said, weeping in a Tskhinvali street as she recounted how she hid from Georgian bombardment in a cellar with her two terrified grandchildren. “Why is he trying to kill Ossetians? He should see with his own eyes what he has done with us. He would be ripped to bits on the streets if he ever came here.” As Georgian troops shelled the city, she said, her grandson screamed for “Uncle Putin” to save him. “Thank God the Russians have come,” she said. “It is getting better.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday criticised the West, saying it had mistaken the aggressors for victims in the conflict over South Ossetia. “Putin is our golden leader. He defends us and gives us food,” said 73-year-old Nadezhda Pliyeva, waiting in Java for a bus to Vladikavkaz after fleeing the village of Prinevi, 12 km from Tskhinvali.

Tengiz Khugayev, aged 45, a member of the South Ossetian rebel contingent dressed in camouflage uniform, was shuttling refugees between Java and the North Ossetian capital.

“One should understand that if we are cut off from Russia, we will have no future,” Khugayev said. “If Russia withdraws its troops from here, we won’t be able to do anything. Look, the Georgians laid waste to Tskhinvali in just one day. We will not survive without Russia.” (Additional reporting by Denis Sinyakov in Tskhinvali; Writing by Melissa Akin; Editing by Catherine Evans) [Go here for the original.]

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Russians advance in west Georgia

Russian troops have entered Georgia from the breakaway region of Abkhazia, as the conflict between the two neighbours appears to be broadening.

Moscow said it had launched a raid on the town of Senaki to stop Georgia from attacking Russian forces in South Ossetia, another breakaway region.

And Georgian officials say Russian troops have captured the town of Gori, in central Georgia.

As the fighting continued, foreign envoys were pressing for a ceasefire.

Violence erupted in South Ossetia late last week when Georgia launched an overnight assault on the territory. [See more here.]
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Georgian helicopters bomb S.Ossetia targets-witness

GORI, Georgia, Aug 11 (Reuters) – At least six Georgian attack helicopters bombed targets in the region around the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, a Reuters witness said.

The action appeared to countermand a Georgian declaration of an end to military activity over the separatist region.

The reporter said the helicopters flew from Georgia proper and attacked targets just over the de facto boundary with South Ossetia, sending dark smoke billowing into the air.

Russia had earlier accused Georgia of shelling Russian troops, which drove Georgian forces from Tskhinvali this week. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze) [Go here for the original.]

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U.S. Military Aircraft flew Georgian troops from Iraq to deploy against Russians

U.S. military planes transported Georgian troops from Iraq to deploy against Russians

It has been confirmed that US aircraft flew Georgian combat units on duty in Iraq back to Georgia. On Friday, August 8, General David Petraeus, the head US commander in Iraq said that US aircraft had started to fly some of Georgia’s 2,000 troops in Iraq back home to join the fight in the breakaway province of South Ossetia. “The flights are ongoing to redeploy the elements of the Georgian contingent so that they can deal with the security issues in their country,” General Petraeus told The Times in an interview at his office inside Baghdad’s Green Zone.

In a news report published today, August 11, msnbc recounted that Russian Prime Minister Putin criticized the United States for airlifting Georgian troops back home from Iraq on Sunday at Georgia’s request. “It’s a pity that some of our partners instead of helping are in fact trying to get in the way,” Putin said at a Cabinet meeting. “I mean among other things the United States airlifting Georgia’s military contingent from Iraq effectively into the conflict zone.” [See the article here.]

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Georgia and Russia claim ‘mass arrests’

TBILISI, Georgia (CNN) — Both Georgia and Russia claim that ethnic Georgians and ethnic Russians are wrongly being detained in the conflict over South Ossetia.

Russian troops and their allies were making “mass arrests” of Georgian civilians in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia and were taking them to a local village, the Georgian government said in a statement.”According to the reliable information held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Russian servicemen and separatists carry out mass arrests of peaceful civilians of Georgian origin still remaining on the territory of the Tskhinvali region and subsequently concentrate them on the territory of the village of Kurta,” the government said on Monday.

The statement said Georgia was appealing to the world community and international humanitarian groups “to immediately take decisive and effective measures for the evacuation of this population from the conflict zone.”

The Russian government issued a statement on Monday by President Dmitry Medvedev denouncing “the enforced detention of Russian citizens in Georgia.”

He called that situation “unacceptable” and “in complete violation of international law.”

“The president also stressed that foreigners legally in Russia, including Georgian citizens, should not be subjected to any sort of discrimination and instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs to keep this matter under its control.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Andrey August 27, 2008 at 3:42 am

Truth about war in Ossetia that is overlooked by BBC and CNN

At 7 p.m. on August 8, the day when Olympics started, worldwide community heard from CNN and BBC news that Russian tanks invaded Georgia and that Russia started war with Georgia.

That the war had begun 16 hours earlier by Georgian president Sukashvili’s order these media preferred to pass over in silence.

But you have the right to know truth. That’s how this really happened:

According to old tradition of Olympic Games’ eve everyone was looking for peace and quiet. On August 7, Georgian and South Ossetian officials agreed to observe a ceasefire and hold debates in attempt to solve their long-term conflict peacefully.

August 8, 00:06
Just hours later, six minutes past midnight on August 8, inhabitants of Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, peacefully sleeping in their beds, heard dreadful whizz of incoming rockets. The hell followed soon… Without any declaration Georgian forces launched massive shelling of Tskhinvali with all available means, including heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems GRAD. In this massacre, in just several hours, the whole city was ruined: 2,000 human lives wasted and 85% of all buildings demolished. Georgian military expedition, called “Clean field”, yielded its first fruits…

August 8, 03:00
Georgian army occupied five Ossetian villages, burning them to ashes.

August 8, 03:30
Georgian tanks started attack on Tskhinvali. Ossetian militia stood up to the enemy but could not keep back 30-times outnumbering Georgian forces. Many basements where Ossetins tried to escape shelling were showered with grenades. At the very same time, Georgian “peacekeepers”, serving in South Ossetia, launched unexampled attack on their yesterday’s colleagues, Russian peacekeepers, managing to kill at least 10 of them.

August 8, 04:33
Russia called for UN Security Council meeting to put a stop to Georgian military aggression and seize fire. No decision was delivered at neither this nor several following meetings.

August 8, 09:00
Russian Prime Minister Putin informed President Bush that Georgia launched war against Ossetia. Mr. Bush answered that “nobody wanted this war”.

Ossetia was praying for help. It was already obvious that “clean field” meant nothing else but ethnical cleansing. In these circumstances, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia would defend Russian citizens who constitute 90% of South Ossetia population.

August 8, 16:00
Russian forces overstepped mountain pass and made their way toward perishing Ossetins. That was exactly the moment when CNN and BBC finally “noticed” the war and broadcasted their «Russians invaded Georgia» scenes. Sukashvili announced that Russia invaded Georgia and held back that he started this horrible bloodshed himself.

Before midnight, Russian and Ossetian forces kicked aggressors out of Ossetian capital. Survived citizens started to leave basements to escape the city. In the next couple days around 30,000 refugees fled to Russia.

Failed Georgian assault turned to informational blackout and devilish propaganda by politicized media feeding us their lies. It’s time when so much depends on your personal position! I believe that there will be journalists who can give objective picture of these events. I believe in people of peace who will regard an attempt of massive extermination of small nation as genocide (3% of South Ossetins and 0.3% of all Ossetins worldwide were killed in just one night on August 8; fascists have never achieved that efficiency in exterminating Jewish people even when Auschwitz and Treblinka were working at full capacity). I believe in a world community that will view Sukashvili’s inhuman orders as war crime and an outrage on humanity. I believe in you, thinking person, able to confront with facts, person who will not follow barefaced propaganda of deeply corrupt media, person able to recognize truth!

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avatar Mark Skinner September 25, 2008 at 3:16 am

I am aghast at the media for ignoring this event…I KNOW that the Georgians bombed a defenceless city as it slept because I followed it in real time, as it happened, on the web. I got the reports of the allout attack on a sleeping city of Tskinvali by Georgia..then reports of Russia moving the next day…it was clearly started viciously by this Georgian prick and I thank God the Ruskies, who I can’t stand, (I’d like to whip Putin’s arse),moved in to help the agrieved people. I am horrified that the media has been so twisted by the Americans that they cannot see…fuck the Yanks. Why do they have to stick their filthy snouts into everyone else’s business…it’s all about money and power with the little people being the fodder for measuring power…how many can you kill in how long…that’s what it’s about people. And if we the people don’t rise up like a tide of humanity AGAINST THOSE WHO HARM US OR ALLOW US TO BE HARMED FOR THE SAKE OF POWER, then we surely as oncoming death, deserve whatever we get. Get your message onto television South Ossettia….that’s the TRUE media of the West. Some of us know the truth and history is no longer written by the victors because we have THESE wonderful means of communication now…power to the people.
Mark Skinner.

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avatar Mark Skinner September 25, 2008 at 3:23 am

And when I hang shit on “Yank’s and Ruskies” I am talking about the administrations that Yanks and Ruskies elected, (although I think that Putin rigged it.)

Reply

avatar Frank Gormlie September 25, 2008 at 8:21 am

Mark – I wish more Americans were like you, and had followed this incident closely. Thanks for your comments – and stay in touch with us.

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