Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs seriously disturbed by the worsening situation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone

МИД России серьезно обеспокоен обострением ситуации в зоне грузино-осетинского конфликта

“On Friday evening, conditions in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone sharply deteriorated. The fighting, involving gun fire, grenades, and mortars, lasted for several hours. Rounds fell on the city of Tskhinvali and other neighboring settlements. There were human casualties and considerable damage to structures,” stated a press release from the MIA of Russia.

As reported to IA Regnum by the department of news and information of the MIA of Russia, the Russian side is most seriously disturbed by the escalating tensions in South Ossetia and would take active measures to prevent any further escalations between the Georgian and South Ossetian sides. The Russian MIA called on Tbilisi and Tskhinvali to exercise restraint to try to find a way to resolve the critical situation.

--IA Regnum

Women, children, and the elderly being evacuated from South Ossetia

Из Южной Осетии эвакуируются женщины, дети и старики

Evacuations are under way in South Ossetia for women, children, and the elderly in the conflict zones. They are being taken to North Ossetia, according to the press committee of the Republic of South Ossetia. According to IA Regnum’s source, due to the worsening situation, the evacuation of civilians has begun in the settlement of Dmenis (in the Tskhinvali region of South Ossetia), as well as the evacuation of children in Tskhinvali. An emergency session of the government of the republic is planned for today.

“In order to avoid the loss of civilian life, the administration of the settlement made the decision to evacuate children, women, and the elderly to Northern Ossetia, as tensions have escalated,” reported South Ossetian authorities.

As has already been reported, the shootings on Ossetian settlements, including on the capital of the Republic of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, from the evening of August 1 through August 2, have left 6 people dead and 13 wounded. According to Vladimir Ivanov, assistant commander of the Joint peacekeeping forces (SSPM) in the conflict zone, 4 of the dead were killed by sniper fire.

--IA Regnum

Южная Осетия вновь обьиняет Грузию в обстреле сел

I think you might find it interesting to compare this Russian article ( with yesterday's Georgian article concerning the same incident.

South Ossetia once again accuses Georgia of firing on villages

According to South Ossetian authorities, on the evening of July 29, Georgia fired upon the villages of Sarabuki and Tliakana in the region of Tskhinvali.

This comes just after an earlier incident that day when Georgian forces opened fire on the Ossetian villages of Sarabuki and Andis. A group of peacekeeping monitors arrived on the scene only to also come under fire. There were no casualties.

The Georgians, on the other hand, are reporting that it was the South Ossetian forces who fired first upon the peacekeepers, and then during the course of the morning, fired upon the Georgian police posts and Georgian settlements.

On the evening of July 29, South Ossetian authorities once again released a statement regarding a shooting by the Georgians on Ossetian villages. This time the fire came upon the villages of Sarabuki and Tliakana.

“Beginning at 22:00 Moscow time, the South Ossetian villages of Sarabuki and Tliakana came under fire originating from Georgian forces in the Sarabuki heights,” said Irina Gagloeva, official spokesperson of the unrecognized republic. She added that as of 23:00 Moscow time, it was known that one policeman was wounded and had been hospitalized, according to the news agency “Interfax.”

This is hardly the first time that Joint Control Mission [SSPM] observers have noted infringements upon the existing agreements in the conflict zone between Georgia and South Ossetia. According to the JCC, on July 25, the South Ossetian side denied observers access to a post northwest of the settlement of Chorabuli where alleged fortifications [deemed unlawful by current agreements] were being made by the South Ossetian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Observers from the Georgian side released this information.

A couple weeks earlier on the night of July 8, four Georgian servicemen were arrested in South Ossetia. They were subsequently interrogated and released. Not long before they were released, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, at a session of the National Security Council, requested the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs to launch an operation to free the Georgian servicemen.

On July 10, the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, at a joint-press conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, spoke about the infringement of Georgian airspace by Russian aircraft, and accused Russia of violating international agreements. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that its planes had indeed flown over the territory of South Ossetia, but explained that the action was necessary to prevent Georgian forces from invading South Ossetian territory.

Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia David Bakradze called for the United Nations and OSCE to judge Russia’s action as an act of military aggression against Georgia. Bakradze stated that Russia carried out the act of aggression against Georgian and that even Russia’s own Ministry of Foreign Affairs had confirmed it.

On July 10, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Tkeshelashvili announced that Georgia would be recalling its ambassador from the Russian Federation in response to the recent events in the conflict zones of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the aggressive actions of Russia. Ambassador Erosi Kitsmarishvili returned to Tbilisi on July 11 for consultations.

Once again, the events that have taken place in these last few months in the conflict zone between Georgia and South Ossetia, have shown both sides repeatedly coming forward to accuse one another of terrorism and provocation.

--Kavkaz Uzel (Caucasian Knot)