Monday, March 23, 2009

European Commission finds that Saakashvili initiated the "August War"

Комиссия ЕС признала, что инициатором августовской войны был Саакашвили

The European Commission, tasked with investigating last August's war in the Caucasus, has found that Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili initiated the military conflict. The report was released on March 23 by the weekly paper Der Spiegel.

Der Spiegel's Moscow correspondent Uwe Klussmann writes: On August 7, 2008, General Mamuka Kurashvili, commander of the Georgian peacekeepers deployed in South Ossetia, appeared on national television and stated that Georgia had decided to "restore constitutional order in the region." And with that began the five-day war between Russia and Georgia which quickly escalated tensions between the East and the West, -- "to the most dangerous levels since the end of the Cold War." According to Der Spiegel, the European Commission singled out Kurashvili's television appearance as the primary factor. "His statements serve as proof that the president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was not concerned with any 'Russian aggression,'
which he to this day claims to be his motive for invading South Ossetia, but rather was planning an offensive war. In fact, Kurashvili cited "Georgian Order Number 2" on August 7--a document which could answer the question as to who began this war," writes the author of the article.

"It is believed that the Commission's report, which is expected to be released early this summer, will mention that over the course of several years, Russia provided those living in South Ossetia with Russian passports. Experts in international law see this as an interference in Georgia's internal affairs. Nevertheless, the findings of the European Commission indicate that Tbilisi is more to blame than Moscow. Those close to the Georgian President have been reacting nervously to the Commission's efforts, like Temur Yakobashvili, the "Minister of Reintegration" of the breakaway provinces, for example. Now, he is spreading rumors that the Commission is financed by "Gazprom," says one source.

The Commission is made up of diplomats, military officials, historians, and experts in international law.

[Click here to read the original Der Spiegel article (in English)]