Looking back in 2008. August 7


The war in August 2008. On the eve of invasion ...

On the night of August 7, 2008, began a steady bombardment of the populated areas of South Ossetia. At midnight a village Dmenis was fired from the Georgian-controlled village of Eredvi, Sarabuk, Satikar, and the southern outskirts of Tskhinval.

Throughout the night the Georgian armed forces, armored vehicles and artillery massed on the borders of the Republic. After several hours of shelling of the villages, the Georgian artillery brought down fire upon the Pris height.
At about 2:00 of the night from the Georgian villages of Nikozi and Ergneti was opened fire on Tskhinval. The fire on the outskirts of Tskhinval did not stop throughout the night. In the morning resumed the shelling of another village Ubiat in Znaur district.
In the afternoon it was reported eighteen wounded in the shelling of the populated areas of South Ossetia.
President Eduard Kokoity declared the "silent annexation of the territory of South Ossetia." "We have not only to stop these attempts, but if the Georgian side does not withdraw all its armed forces, we will begin ousting them," - he said.
According to him, "after the Russian peacekeepers intervened, South Ossetia has not responded to the fire of the Georgian side for another 40 minutes."
"Then we had to respond, because according to our intelligence, Georgian Special Forces tried to capture the Pris height. The first attempt to capture the Pris height has been completely failed. "
Around 14.00 on August 7 in the Gori district the Georgian side deployed missile systems "Grad". The Georgian forces were placed on a full alert. Peacekeeping contingent was also been put on alert.
On the same day took place a telephone conversation between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin and President Eduard Kokoity. The parties expressed their estimation of the aggravated situation in the conflict zone, and agreed to take urgent steps to reduce the level of the armed conflict. Concern was expressed about the actions of the Georgian side in the vicinity of Tskhinval, which could be regarded as war preparations. Moscow sent special envoy, the JCC co-chair Yuri Popov to Tskhinval.
By two o'clock in the afternoon a Georgian part of the Joint Staff Joint Peacekeeping Forces without explanation left the territory of the location, and military observers from Georgia left the combined positions of peacekeepers, referring to the order of command. At 15:10 from the Georgian-controlled village of Avnevi began shelling the village of Khetagurovo, the southwestern outskirts of Tskhinval and residential neighborhoods of the town with mortars, grenade launchers and weapons infantry fighting vehicles.
Commander of the Joint Forces in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict Marat Kulakhmetov announced the need to increase the number of Russian peacekeepers.
"I'm just saying that the number of peacekeepers, in the current situation, is clearly insufficient to maintain the situation in a normal state. I believe that the time has come to take the decision to increase the number of Russian peacekeepers, "- said Kulakhmetov.
At 19.00 on Georgian TV channels Mikhail Saakashvili made a statement on the ceasefire and peace talks. Against the background of these statements, as well as following the meetings of Yuri Popov with the leadership of South Ossetia, it was agreed to hold a meeting in the format Russia-Georgia-South Ossetia to discuss emergency measures to stabilize the situation. The meeting was appointed for 13 hours on August 8 at the headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Tskhinval.
After these events, and the assurances of the authorities of Georgia's commitment to a peaceful settlement of the situation and the unilateral ceasefire, in South Ossetia was a lull. The people of the Republic for the first time believed that the war could be avoided.
Contrary to all expectations, at 23:35 on August 7 Georgia started a military operation against South Ossetia. Already at 23.40 the Russian peacekeeping contingent in the south-west of Tskhinval first took the brunt.
In connection with the beginning of the aggression of Georgia National Security Council Secretary Anatoly Barankevich made the statement:
"The assurances of the President of Georgia that on their part will be manifested the utmost restraint in resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, once again proved to be false. Under the cover of these statements from Gori is moving a large column of armored vehicles. It consists of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, howitzers, about a thousand people. In the district of Gori are deployed 27 multiple rocket launchers. About three hours is lasting the shelling of the village Khetagurovo with heavy weapons, including the 152-mm guns. A few blocks of the village are enveloped in flames. All it means that Georgia began a large-scale military aggression against the Republic of South Ossetia."
At an emergency briefing convened by the Joint Staff at the location of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces in Tskhinval, the commander of the peacekeeping forces Marat Kulakhmetov reported that the Georgian side had actually declared war on South Ossetia.

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