UK House of Commons Report on Russia

It is interesting, that in the report of the House of Commons, it is recognized, that Saakashvili started the attack on South Ossetia on August 7, 2008, even though, according to the report, Georgia had previously been provoked by Russia.

I wonder why people still discuss who started the war, it is so obvious from simply following the chain of events. Georgian president Saakashvili says, that he ordered Georgian troops to go fight to stop imminent Russian invasion. The report seems to partly endorse this view.

However, according to this very table below, president Saakashvili declared “state of war” on August 8, somewhat not on August 7, when the war started in South Ossetia. Another question, I would ask Saakashvili is why to stop Russian invasion, Georgian troops had to attack Tkhinval, that lies tens of miles away from the Russian border. They could easily bypass the city, in fact the city had been practically surrounded by Georgian forces for a while.

Funny evidence, that the report provides from Georgia to explain why Georgians decided to fight against Russia, that is far stronger than Georgia goes: “We wanted to die for our country, rather than simply run away”…. Is this serious? Then why Georgia asked for peace on August 10? Two days after the Russians got involved? I don’t understand, if Georgians wanted to fight the Russians, they should have fought at least for couple of weeks, instead, they “wanted to die for their country”, but somewhat decided to surrender after couple of days.

Table 4: Timeline of the Georgia conflict and immediate lead-up in 2008
4 May Two Georgian UAVs shot down by Abkhazian forces, bringing the total to four since March.
5 May Georgian news agency reports of the construction of a new Russian military base for peacekeepers in Abkhazia.
26 May UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) confirms Georgian UAV shot down by Russian jet in Abkhazia on 20 April; Russian Foreign Minister claims video has ‘serious inconsistencies’.
31 May Russia deploys 300 ‘unarmed’ soldiers to Abkhazia, claiming they are required for railway repair works. Georgia indicts Russia in planning a military intervention.
June Abkhazia breaks all ties with Georgian government
6-7 June Saakashvili and Medvedev meet, but agree that they cannot resolve ‘all of their problems’; Georgia declares the two sides must meet for a longer discussion.
14-15 June Reports of an ‘intensive’ exchange of fire outskirts of Tskhinvali between Georgian and South Ossetian troops.
17 June Four Russian peacekeepers detained in Abkhazia for allegedly transporting illegal ammunition; Russian Defence Ministry demands their return.
3-4 July Explosions in South Ossetia prompt Russia to accuse Georgia of military intervention and to condemn its ‘aggression’.
10 July In a press conference with President Saakashvili, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for an end to violence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
29-30 July South Ossetia accuses Georgia of shelling villages outside of Tskhinvali. Georgia asserts that South Ossetians directed fire towards its monitoring group.
1 August Explosion in South Ossetia; Georgia reports injury of two policemen.
7 August Georgia sends in its military to Tskhinvali. Russia retaliates with military force.
8 August Both South Ossetia and Georgia lay claim to the disputed territory during intense shelling of Tskhinvali by both sides. Georgia accuses Russia of provoking ‘undeclared war.’ Russia warns Georgia that its ‘aggression’ will not go ‘unpunished.’
President Saakashvili declares a ‘state of war.’

9 August Georgia claims to have shot down two Russian warplanes.
Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba claims Abkhaz forces have embarked upon an operation to drive Georgian forces out of the hotly-disputed Kodori gorge.

10 August Reports of bombs dropped outside of Tbilisi, near a military airport.
Russian diplomat reports death count of 2,000 in South Ossetia; the numbers have not been verified.

Georgia reports to have offered Russia a peace deal, saying it would withdraw its troops from South Ossetia. Russia denied any cessation of armed conflict by the Georgians, and demanded an unconditional withdrawal from South Ossetia.

Georgia reports death of 130 Georgian civilians and 1,165 injuries. Russia rejects the claim that it has hit civilians.

US President George W. Bush declares Russia’s troop build-up to be a ‘disproportionate response’; UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband denounces Russia’s bombing of targets ‘well beyond’ South Ossetia.

11 August Russia stationed more than 9,000 paratroopers in Abkhazia, thus exceeding the limit of 3,000 from the 1994 peace agreement. It continues to move more troops and armour across the border; there are reports that the movement also includes T-72 tanks and Hurricane rocket launchers.
European Commission calls on Russia to ‘stop immediately all military activity on Georgian territory.’

Russia delivers an ultimatum to Georgia: that it must disarm 1,500 troops in Zugdidi, near Abkhazia, which Georgia rejects.

16 August President Medvedev signs six-point EU-brokered ceasefire, which includes a promise to withdraw troops to pre-conflict positions.
17 August Medvedev tells President Nicolas Sarkozy in a telephone conversation that Russian troops will begin to withdraw from Georgia on Monday 18th of August.
19 August Medvedev tells Sarkozy that—contrary to the EU ceasefire—Russian troops will remain in a buffer zone inside Georgia proper on the border with South Ossetia, and the remainder of troops will go back to South Ossetia and to Russia.
NATO freezes its partnership with Russia, and declares normal relations with Russia to be impossible. Statement issued by NAC (North Atlantic Council) emphasizes concern over Georgia’s territorial integrity and the humanitarian situation.

22 August Russia promises a ‘partial’ withdrawal of troops by the end of the day, but claims some “peacekeepers” will be left inside Georgia. US General Craddock calls the move ‘far too little, far too slow’.
26 August Russian President Medvedev formally recognizes the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and accuses Georgian President Saakashvili of using ‘genocide to solve his political problems.’


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