Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Saakashvili doesn't accept all of Medvedev's conditions

Саакашвили принял не все условия Медведева

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and French President Saakashvili have approved all 6 points of the peace plan for a ceasefire and resolution to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. The approval became known on the evening of August 13 after the Georgian leader met with Nicolas Sarkozy. The 6 points were named by Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy at a press conference on August 12th: no more use of force; stop military action for good; provide easy access to humanitarian aid; return Georgian forces to their place of permanent deployment; return Russian forces to pre-conflict positions. In addition, Russian peacekeepers accept additional security measures: the beginning of an international discussion of the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and ways to guarantee their security.

However, during negotiations, Sarkozy and Saakashvili removed any reference to an international discussion of the future political status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and instead emphasized international talks with the aim to guarantee stability and security in these regions.

Russia's reaction to this development is not yet known.

IA Regnum

Expert: Georgia quits CIS, tries to save face

Эксперт: Грузия выходит из СНГ, стремясь сохранить лицо

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili declared the withdrawal of Georgia from the CIS in order to save face. The analysis was made by Vadim Mukhanov, senior researcher at the Foreign Ministry's Caucasus Research Center at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, in an interview with an IA Regnum correspondent on August 12th.

"Saakashvili's decision to withdraw Georgia from the CIS is easy to explain. This is just one of his PR weapons in his anti-Russia arsenal. In this case, it's clear that Georgia, in its collision with Russia, has suffered a shattering defeat, and the failure of its military campaign is obvious. Saakashvili had to do something to help him save face, and one way was to withdraw Georgia from the structure of the CIS. It was done with the aim of demonstrating that Georgia would not cooperate with Russia within the framework of this organization. At the present moment, when Georgian-Russian relations are almost non-existent, Saakashvili is burning bridges and demonstrating his hard line position in his struggle to gain the sympathies of the West," asserted the expert.

"As we know, Ukraine actively supported Georgia during the conflict, and we can't exclude the possibility that Mikhail Saakashvili is counting on his diplomatic finesse to receive support from Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its leaders. It is quite probable that Saakashvili is also hoping that even other members of the Commonwealth [of CIS] can support him. Though, in my opinion, it is unlikely," noted the political scientist.

Speaking about the possibility of Tbilisi participating in various CIS initiatives, Mukhanov expressed his opinion that Tbilisi, by withdrawing from the Commonwealth, is leaving all projects which work within the framework of the Commonwealth. "Since this will occur unilaterally, all agreements, which were written in the framework of the CIS, will be voided," noted the expert.

Commenting on Saakashvili's statement that Georgia will cancel all agreements on conducting peacekeeping operations in the conflict zone, Mukhanov said: "The peacekeepers share the two sides of the conflict; the joint peacekeeping forces, if not allowed by Georgia to participate in its operations, will withdraw to Abkhazia and South Ossetia and continue to perform their functions there--as the other parties to the conflict obviously have not rejected Russian peacekeepers on their own territory. Thus, the peacekeepers won't go anywhere," summarized Vadim Mukhanov.

Let's remember that at a demonstration in Tbilisi on August 12th, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili stated that Georgia would withdraw from the CIS on the pretext that this organization is "operated by Russia." Saakashvili also said that Tbilisi rescinds all of its agreements which concern conducting peacekeeping operations in the conflict zone.

IA Regnum

August 12th [Tskhinvali soldier's blog]

The most recent post from rupor_naroda's blog. Again, some details are graphic.

12 августа

Today we were on a clean-up operation in the village of Taramasheni. The Georgians were in such a bad mood while fleeing that some of them left behind their elderly and children because they were a burden on the road.

Today the situation is already normal, we control practically everything. It's necessary to carefully examine every village, and every basement and attic in the city.

We went to the former Russian peacekeeping forces base today. It's surrounded by corpses, the air is impregnated by the smell of decay, the roadside is lined with burned tanks and BMPs [infantry fighting vehicle].

[Note: It's impossible to tell whether or not this blog is authentic, but the majority of his Russian readers seem to think it is.]

Shooting continues in Tskhinvali

В Цхинвали еще постреливают

Despite a ceasefire, shots can still be heard in Tskhinvali's southern suburbs bordering Georgia.

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity has called the shootings provocations by the Georgians. "Their aim is to draw a response from Russian soldiers, to provoke them, to show their Western patrons that Russia is not keeping its promise," he stated.

IA Regnum

Georgia acknowledges leaving Kodori Gorge

Грузия признала уход из Кодорского ущелья

Shota Utiashvili, the official representative of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, confirmed reports that on August 12th, Georgia removed all of its divisions from the Kodori Gorge, reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

"In connection with the situation that has developed, we have completely vacated the Kodori Gorge. Now there are no Georgian formations there, and neither are there police or civilians," said Shota Utiashvili.

Upper part of Kodori Gorge under Abkhazian control

Верхняя часть Кодорского ущелья взята под контроль Абхазии

The armed forces of Abkhazia have completed an operation in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge. As Christian Bzhaniya, head of the press office of the President of Abkhazia, reports, soldiers have completely freed the territory from Georgian forces.

Let's remember that Georgia was given an ultimatum to disarm and remove its forces, which first entered the area in the summer of 2006 on the pretext of being special ops policemen, from the upper part of the Kodori Gorge. The presence of armies in this region is a violation of the basic agreements on separating the parties according to the Moscow treaty. In response to tensions in a zone which is the responsibility of CIS peacekeeping forces for the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, the forces were reinforced last night by the Russian Airborne Troops. Abkhazia stated that Georgian formations are beginning a military operation to clear out the upper part of the Kodori Gorge.

IA Regnum

Georgia points out NATO's mistakes and requests arms from the alliance

Грузия указывает на ошибки НАТО и просит оружия у Альянса

Georgia's Ambassador to NATO Revaz Beshidze stated on August 12th that NATO "has made a greater mistake by not allowing Georgia to join the Membership Action Plan (MAP) of the alliance this year." As Reuters reports, after a meeting with 26 representatives from the countries of the alliance in Brussels, Beshidze stated that the organization had given Russia "a green light" to attack Georgia.

"This is our firm position, and it has only solidified after the Russian attacks. The big mistake was not allowing Georgia and Ukraine join MAP in Bucharest," he emphasized, declaring that the recent events in Georgia "were caused by this mistake." He also reported that he requested a delivery of arms from NATO, primarily new locating stations which had been destroyed by Russian aircraft. In response, the Secretary General of NATO stated that the alliance "had received a series of requests from Georgia for aid, which will be considered." The Georgian Ambassador also expressed regret that the positions of "many NATO countries are very far from the coordinated position of the other governments."

IA Regnum

Russian soldiers find Georgian plan of action in South Ossetia

Российские военные обнаружили план действий Грузии в Южной Осетии

The Georgian army's plan of action was discovered in a Georgian staff car in South Ossetia. As an official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense reports, it is of particular interest since it reveals the first and following stages of action of the Georgian army and sheds light on the true intentions of Tbilisi in relation to South Ossetia. ITAR-TASS provided the report.

IA Regnum

Curfew in effect in South Ossetian capital

В столице Южной Осетии введен комендантский час

Under a decision made by the government of South Ossetia, a curfew will be put in place in the capital Tskhinvali. From 19:00 to 06:00 no one with arms should be seen on the streets. The decision was made for the security of the population. It is not yet known how long the curfew will last.

IA Regnum

Yushchenko claims that Russian Black Sea Fleet involves Ukraine in a international conflict

Ющенко заявляет, что ЧФ России втянул Украину в международный конфликт

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko considers the use of ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Sevastopol, in military operations or for the creation of a sea blockade along the Georgian coastline a dangerous precedent. He made the statement today, August 12th, at a briefing in the airport "Simferopol," reports an IA Regnum correspondent.

"It's a dangerous precedent, in so far as it is through such precedents that Ukraine is drawn into international conflicts against its wishes," said the president of Ukraine. For this reason, explained Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian MFA made the corresponding statement on August 10th in which it expressed the necessity to begin negotiations.

IA Regnum

Political Scientist: Ukrainian MFA possibly busy with preparations to declare war against Russia

МИД Украины вовсю занят подготовкой к объявлению войны против России: политолог

"The position of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the Caucasian conflict is absolutely clear. It was planned." Mikhail Porgebinsky, director of the Kiev Center for Political and Conflict Studies, made the statement today, August 12th, at a press conference, reports an IA Regnum correspondent in Kiev.

"The Baltic States along with Poland and the President of Ukraine are trying to declare their own position regarding their friendship with President Saakashvili. However, they haven't said one word about the destruction of thousands of people in South Ossetia," said Porgebinsky.

He noted: "I think now the Ukrainian authorities live in a different world from the Ukrainian people. They are creating their own program. In fact, the president has approval ratings of just 5%. And if we were to check the ratings of the Ukrainian MFA, it would probably be negative. And yet these people are making decisions."

"The statement from the Ukrainian MFA about not letting the Russian Black Sea Fleet return to Sevastopol is a sign of preparations to declare war on Russia," stated the expert.

IA Regnum

Dmitry Medvedev calls Georgian ceasefire statement "lies"

Дмитрий Медведев назвал "враньем" заявления Грузии о прекращении огня

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev refutes Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's claim that Georgia has not fired any shots in the last two days. Medvedev referred to "these lies" today, August 12th, in a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. According to the Russian president, for the past two days, the Georgian side has fired on the South Ossetians with artillery and small arms; South Ossetian residents are among the victims. "As for the Georgian president's statement that a ceasefire has been observed for the past two days--these are lies," said Medvedev at a press conference in Moscow after talks with the French president.

IA Regnum

Deputy of the Russian State Duma from Bashkiria calls on members of legislatures from all countries to judge Georgia's actions

Депутат Госдумы РФ от Башкирии призывает парламентариев всех стран осудить действия Грузии

Deputy of the Russian State Duma from Bashkiria Irshat Fakhritdinov--a veteran of the peacekeeping operation during the 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhazian conflict--is calling on members of legislatures of other countries to judge the actions of the Georgian leadership and the position of the United States concerning the genocide of South Ossetian civilians. The comment was made by the deputy, a veteran of military operations, in an interview with an IA Regnum correspondent.

"It is very painful to watch what's happening in South Ossetia," said Fakhritdinov "I'm not imagining the military activities based on hearsay. I saw the ruins which the Georgians left behind 15 years ago and I can't forget the horrific episodes of the war, when tanks crushed children and their mothers, when they shot civilians. What they show on television is only a small fraction of what war inflicts upon people."

"Our years of working to preserve peace in the region have gone to pieces," believes the Russian State Duma deputy. "As a result of the ambitions of the abnormal Saakashvili, the entire population of the republic is left without habitation; many civilians and peacekeepers have perished."

Deputy Fakhritdinov served as deputy commander of a Russian battalion of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia, where he was wounded, and has fought in Chechnyia . Let us recall that today, on August 12th, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a meeting with Russian Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Nikolai Makarov stated that he made the decision to cease operations in the hope of compelling the Georgian authorities to peace.

IA Regnum

Ukrainian experts asked: where are our special forces in Georgia a week since they left Kiev?

Украинские эксперты задались вопросом, куда делся отправленный из Киева в Грузию неделю назад спецназ

"Ukraine should remove its own soldiers, its own special forces from the conflict zone. I haven't heard anyone mention this," stated Vladimir Kornilov, director of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute of CIS Countries, on August 11th at a round table discussion of the topic "Caucasian Go: How might the war between Georgia and Russia affect Ukraine," reports an IA Regnum correspondent in Kiev.

"And we should consider whether or not it was an accident that Ukrainian special forces were sent there a week before the conflict. A rather strange occurrence. And the fact that Ukrainian citizens are in this conflict zone should be a cause of alarm to all citizens of Ukraine," said the political scientist.

In Kornilov's opinion, "Ukrainian citizens are in danger." "In fact, we know very well that if armed men are located in the epicenter of conflicts, they can voluntarily or involuntarily become participants in war activities. And it will amount to the direct participation of Ukraine in the armed conflict in the Caucasus," emphasized the expert.

IA Regnum