Russia vs Georgia (War) Aug 2008

Russia vs Georgia (War) Aug 2008

Postby winston » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:55 pm

Please post any news on the war with Georgia under this thread. Thanks.

==============================================


Russian aircraft attack Georgian territory: Georgian ministry

Three Russian aircraft bombed a position in Georgia, a spokesman for the Georgian interior ministry said.

"Three Russian Sukhoi-24 aircraft intruded into Georgian airspace on Friday. One of them dropped two bombs close to the police station in Kareli,'' Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said, referring to a Georgian village near South Ossetia.

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Re: Russia

Postby iam802 » Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:46 am

Russia's `War' With Georgia Dashes NATO Entry Plans (Update1)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... efer=home#

(Note: Winston posted on this war as well. Somehow, nobody pay attention to it....must be the Olympics)
-----

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The armed conflict between Russia and Georgia deals a blow to U.S. aspirations of bringing the former Soviet republic into NATO's orbit and securing an emerging energy corridor linking Central Asia to Europe.

Russian tanks pushed into the separatist South Ossetia region, and Georgia said Russian warplanes bombed sites including the port of Poti and the western military base at Senaki. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili evacuated the presidential residence to a ``safe location'' and will reemerge to chair an emergency session of government officials, Kakha Lomaia, head of Georgia's Security Council, said by telephone after midnight in Tbilisi.

Georgia said 30 Georgians were killed in the violence and 70 were injured, while the Russian government said 1,300 people had died in South Ossetia due to Georgian military actions.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the fighting was a response to Georgia's assault on Russian citizens and the peacekeepers Russia has had in the disputed region since the early 1990s. Saakashvili called it a ``well-planned invasion'' and appealed for international help. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, ``War has started.''

The conflict ``absolutely'' dooms Georgia's chances for North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership, said Robert Hunter, U.S. ambassador to the Brussels-based alliance under President Bill Clinton and now a senior adviser at the policy- research group RAND Corp. in Washington. ``You don't bring in a country that has this sort of trouble.''

Rice Works Phone

As those hopes evaporated, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice worked the phones with her Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and planned to send an envoy to broker a cease-fire between the sides. President George W. Bush, attending the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games yesterday, said the U.S. backed the ``territorial integrity'' of Georgia. The U.S. asked Russia to withdraw its combat forces.

The European Union joined efforts to stop the conflict, though help may not be as forthcoming as Saakashvili wants in part because of European dependence on Russian energy supplies.

``Countries like Germany and France were already resistant to the idea of giving a NATO security guarantee to a country with an open dispute with Russia,'' said Dominic Fean, a researcher at the French Institute of International Affairs in Paris. ``I can't see how they can get the consensus of 26 states anytime soon.''

Georgia's Ambassador to the U.S. Vasiil Sikharulidze told Bloomberg Television the conflict would make NATO entry for the country harder, ``but we are strongly convinced we have to continue this way and that we will be a NATO member.''

`Rose Revolution'

Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer, came to power in the 2003 ``Rose Revolution'' backed by the U.S. He vowed to bring South Ossetia and two other separatist regions under central control in a challenge to Russia.

South Ossetia has a population of about 70,000 and is connected to Russia's North Ossetia region by a tunnel through the Caucasus Mountains. Most South Ossetian residents hold Russian passports.

Georgia is a key link in a U.S.-backed ``southern energy corridor'' that connects the Caspian Sea region with world markets, bypassing Russia. The BP Plc-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline to Turkey runs about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

Gas Strategy

The U.S. seeks to connect Central Asia natural gas supplies with European markets, skirting Russia in an attempt to weaken the grip of Russia's state-run OAO Gazprom energy company. One planned pipeline route runs from the Georgia-Turkey border.

NATO in April committed itself to bringing Georgia into the alliance without providing a timeframe or a clear path toward membership -- as Bush had pushed for -- out of concern it would antagonize Russia. Putin has called the expansion of NATO toward Russian frontiers a ``direct threat'' and likened South Ossetia's drive for independence to Kosovo's from Serbia.

Sergei Mironov, a Putin ally who heads Russia's upper house of parliament, said the fighting is ``grounds'' to consider South Ossetia's appeal for international recognition, which cited Kosovo as a precedent, Interfax reported.

Russia hasn't recognized Kosovo since its declaration of independence.

Diplomatic efforts in the South Ossetia crisis were inconclusive late yesterday, raising the possibility that violence might spread, potentially rattling energy markets.

The ruble dropped the most against the dollar in 8 1/2 years and Russian stocks tumbled yesterday on concern the fighting would worsen.

``This could be a prolonged and bloody conflict with an unpredictable end,'' said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst in Moscow.

NATO Role

While NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called on all sides to end fighting and hold direct talks, the alliance is staying out of the discussions.

``NATO hasn't got a direct role in the conflict in the Caucasus,'' spokeswoman Carmen Romero said in an interview. ``We don't have a mandate to negotiate or mediate.''

Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic rival Barack Obama called on Russia and Georgia to halt hostilities and hold negotiations.

Hunter said flawed diplomacy was in part responsible for the clash. ``This is an issue that was allowed to get out of hand by people who haven't thought through what NATO membership really means, and on the Russian side doing too much muscle flexing over a country that is a pretty small place,'' he said.
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Russia's `War' With Georgia

Postby blid2def » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:08 pm

Looks like the Russians think oil has fallen too far off. Cannot lah, just chase BP away only, suddenly oil drop to 115. Must whack whack to push it back to 200.

As usual lah; only an excerpt here; for full article, please click on the link below.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... A5_BpkTZT0

p.s. If you've ever wondered why I often don't post the full article, it's because:
(1) I believe it's more readable this way,
(2) I don't want to take traffic away from the originating web sites (regardless if it's commercial or not), and
(3) sometimes these articles have pictures/graphics; so you're missing those if you just read the full articles here


Russia's `War' With Georgia Dashes NATO Entry Plans (Update3)

By Bradley Cook and Janine Zacharia

Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The armed conflict between Russia and Georgia deals a blow to U.S. aspirations of bringing the former Soviet republic into NATO's orbit and securing an emerging energy corridor linking Central Asia to Europe.

Russian tanks pushed into the separatist South Ossetia region and by morning, reinforcements backed by bombers and artillery had arrived at the outskirts of the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, where they were preparing to ``enforce peace,'' Russian army spokesman Igor Konashenkov said by telephone from South Ossetia. The Russian death toll rose to 15 overnight, with more than 70 wounded, he said.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili evacuated the presidential residence to a ``safe location'' and will reemerge to chair an emergency session of government officials, Kakha Lomaia, head of Georgia's Security Council, said by telephone after midnight in Tbilisi.

Georgia said 30 Georgians were killed in the violence and 70 were injured, while the Russian government said 1,300 people had died in South Ossetia due to Georgian military actions.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the fighting was a response to Georgia's assault on Russian citizens and the peacekeepers Russia has had in the disputed region since the early 1990s. Saakashvili called it a ``well-planned invasion'' and appealed for international help. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, ``War has started.''
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Re: Russia's `War' With Georgia

Postby winston » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:31 pm

Georgia says to withdraw 1,000 soldiers from Iraq

Georgia will withdraw 1,000 soldiers from Iraq to help fight off Russian forces in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, the head of Georgia's Security Council, Kakha Lomaia, said.

''We have already communicated to our American friends that we are going to withdraw half our contingent of soldiers in Iraq within days because we are under Russian aggression,'' Lomaia said.

''These are some of our best soldiers.''

REUTERS
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Re: Russia's `War' With Georgia

Postby winston » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:33 pm

Bush backs Georgia's territorial integrity

President George W Bush pledged US support for Georgia's territorial integrity and has been updated regularly on the crisis involving Russia in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, the White House said.

''I want to reiterate on his behalf that the United States supports Georgia's territorial integrity and we call for an immediate ceasefire,'' White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement in Beijing where Bush was attending the Olympics.

''We urge all parties, Georgians, South Ossetians and Russians, to de-escalate the tension and avoid conflict,'' she said.

REUTERS
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Russia

Postby winston » Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:20 pm

Starting to get serious. Just watched BBC and it could become bigger..

====================================

Russia: Troops in South Ossetia to enforce peace

TBLISI, Georgia (CNN) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday that Russian peacekeepers are "trying to force Georgians to cease fire" in the conflict over the breakaway Georgian territory of South Ossetia, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.
A warplane drops bombs near the Georgian city of Gori on Friday as Russian and Georgian forces battle.

A Russian army unit arrived Saturday at a Russian peacekeepers' base in South Ossetia where several troops were reported killed a day earlier, Interfax said. A convoy of Russian armored vehicles rolled into South Ossetia on Friday in what the Russian government said was an effort to reinforce the peacekeepers already there.

Interfax said 15 peacekeepers were killed in the Friday attack by Georgian troops. Russia has opened a criminal probe into their deaths, Interfax reported.

Bombs rocked Tbilisi early Saturday morning as the fighting intensified and moved into the Georgian capital.

Government buildings, including the Parliament, were evacuated when the bombs fell.

Heavy casualties have reported on both sides since Russian forces moved Friday into South Ossetia, a pro-Russian autonomous region of Georgia.

Russian bombers were targeting Georgia's economic infrastructure, National Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia said, including the country's largest Black Sea port, Poti, and the main road connecting the southern part of Georgia with the east and the airport.

Georgian television reported that the port had been destroyed.

Georgia, a former Soviet state, sent troops into South Ossetia on Thursday, aiming to crack down on the separatists, who want independence or unification with North Ossetia,
which is in Russia. Russia responded Friday, sending troops into the Georgian province where it had peacekeepers stationed.

"I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars," Lyudmila Ostayeva, a resident of the South Ossetia capital, Tskhinvali, told The Associated Press on Friday.

"It's impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged," she said after fleeing to a village near the Russian border, AP reported.

"They are killing civilians, women and children, with heavy artillery and rockets," Sarmat Laliyev, 28, told AP.

One U.S. State Department official called the conflict a "very dangerous situation" and said diplomatic moves are afoot around the globe to stop it.

Georgia -- on the Black Sea coast between Russia and Turkey -- appealed for diplomatic intervention.

Georgia asked the United States for planes to bring back its 2,000 troops serving as part of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, a U.S. official said.

"All day today, they've been bombing Georgia from numerous warplanes and specifically targeting [the] civilian population, and we have scores of wounded and dead among [the] civilian population all around the country," Georgia's president, Mikhail Saakashvili, said Friday. "This is the worst nightmare one can encounter."

Russia's ambassador to United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, put the blame on the Tblisi government.

"What is going on is a massive bombardment of residential quarters in Tshkinvali and other towns, too," Churkin said.

Eduard Kokoity, head of the rebel government in South Ossetia, said that 1,400 people were killed in the province, according to Russia's Interfax news agency.

Hundreds of people, possibly thousands, are fleeing South Ossetia to the Russian region of North Ossetia-Alania, the United Nations reported Friday, citing Russian officials.

About 150 Russian armored vehicles have entered South Ossetia, Saakashvili said, and Georgian forces had shot down two Russian aircraft.

President Medvedev, quoted by Interfax, said Russians had died because of Georgian military operations in South Ossetia.

Russia "will not allow the deaths of our compatriots to go unpunished," and "those guilty will receive due punishment," he said. "My duty as Russian president is to safeguard the lives and dignity of Russian citizens, wherever they are. This is what is behind the logic of the steps we are undertaking now."

South Ossetia, with a population of about 70,000, declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990s, but it was not internationally recognized. Many ethnic Ossetians feel close to Russia and have Russian passports and use its currency.

Interfax quoted the Georgian Foreign Ministry as saying that strikes by Russian aircraft killed and wounded personnel at a Georgian air base and that Russian planes have been bombing Georgian territory throughout the day. Georgian officials also report four Russian aircraft shot down.

The U.S., NATO and the European Union have all called for an end to the fighting. President Bush and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin discussed the conflict Friday, the White House confirmed.

By early evening Friday, a Georgian Cabinet minister said the country's forces have taken control of Tskhinvali, Interfax reported.

The Novosti news agency, citing the South Ossetian government, said Georgian tanks and infantry attacked Tskhinvali, and "a large part of the city has been destroyed. Over 15 civilians have been killed, several buildings are on fire in the city center, and the local parliament building has burned down."

But Russian and South Ossetian officials said Russia was making inroads in fighting Georgian forces.

"Street fighting in Tskhinvali has lasted for many hours. Ossetian home guards are using grenade-launchers to destroy Georgian tanks. Eyewitnesses say tanks are burning throughout the city. The turning point is approaching in the battle for the capital city," said the Web site of the South Ossetian Information and Press Committee.

The committee also said Russian armored vehicles have entered the northern suburb of the city.

Violence has been mounting in the region in recent days, with sporadic clashes between Georgian forces and South Ossetian separatists.

Georgian troops launched attacks in South Ossetia late Thursday after a top government official said a unilateral cease-fire offer was met with separatist artillery fire.


Lomaia said Georgian troops responded proportionately to separatist mortar and artillery attacks on two villages, attacks he said followed the cease-fire and Saakashvili's call for negotiations.

Russian peacekeepers are in South Ossetia under a 1992 agreement by Russian, Georgian and South Ossetian authorities to maintain what has been a fragile peace.
The mixed peacekeeping force also includes Georgian and South Ossetian troops.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europ ... index.html
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Russia

Postby winston » Sun Aug 10, 2008 7:46 pm

Things are certainly escalating. Looks like I will continue to put the Russia Fund on my watch-list ..

====================================

Ukraine warns Moscow over naval deployment

Ukraine warned Russia it could bar Russian navy ships from returning to their base in the Crimea because of their deployment to Georgia's coast.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said the deployment of a Russian naval squadron to Georgia's Black sea coast has the potential to draw Ukraine into the Russian-Georgian conflict over the separatist province of South Ossetia.

Both Ukraine and Georgia have sought to free themselves of Russia's influence, integrate into the West and join NATO. The statement reflected strong Ukrainian support for Georgia and is certain to anger Moscow, further straining Russian-Ukrainian relations.

A Russian military spokesman said the government must analyze the statement before commenting.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Russia

Postby LenaHuat » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:57 pm

Must watch BBC News now abt the situation. That Georgian President has brought terrible pain to his country. His Harvard-educated brains are not in the right place. Or maybe he's never read Russian history and literature on the Caucasus.
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Russia V Georgia (War) Aug 2008

Postby LenaHuat » Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:32 am

This is the best article I've read 2date abt the war. It's from The Independence :

The West must share the blame for war in Georgia
Monday, 11 August 2008

Tskhinvali is not Sarejevo in 1914. South Ossetia will not be the start-line of the Third World War. But it is a ghastly mess, all the more depressing because the West is partly to blame. In diplomacy, strategy and geopolitics, our political leaders have been guilty of multiple failures over many years.


First, diplomacy. President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia is a headstrong fellow. Reference has been made to his Harvard education as if that should ensure sound judgement. Alas, however, the President's tutor was not the greatest of Harvard diplomatists, Henry Kissinger – but Anthony Eden at Suez. Mr Saakashvili has only one defence against the charge of criminal irresponsibility: a plea of insanity.

So where were the Western diplomats with straitjackets and hard words? It may be that the President was so headstrong as to be beyond counsel, but it would have been worth trying: pointing out to him that his intended actions would have inevitable consequences and that Georgia would be facing them on its own. Even if it might not have worked, it should have been tried. Yet just when the game was in a crucial phase, British and American diplomats took their eye off the ball.

There is a further diplomatic problem. Georgia would like to join Nato, for obvious if naive reasons. Most Georgians have persuaded themselves that if they were Nato members, we would defend our freedoms shoulder to shoulder with theirs, on the Georgian-Russian frontier. That is nonsense. The moment Nato extended guarantees to Georgia or the Ukraine would be the moment Nato either ceased to exist as a credible defensive alliance or – more likely – turned into an organised hypocrisy. It would become a two-tier structure, in which new members were invited to contribute troops but not offered protection when they most needed it.

Alas, however, all the talk about Nato encouraged Georgian adventurism. It helped President Saakashvili to think that he could behave like a founder member. He concluded that he could provoke Russia with impunity. The Russians concluded that it was time to teach him a lesson.

That should not have been necessary. Rather than waiting for the Russians to instil the fear of death, the West should have taught Georgia the facts of life. We ought to have reminded them that they were living in a dangerous neighbourhood. A small nation that has only recently become independent from a neighbouring superpower still resentful at many of the changes which have overtaken it must tread warily. Eighty per cent of Georgians would like to join Nato. One suspects that a similar percentage of Taiwanese would like to become fully independent. Neither country is in the position to conduct its foreign affairs by writing letters to Santa Claus.

Over time, the Taiwanese have come to accept this; the Georgians should have been helped to do so.

The West's diplomatic weakness rests on the shoulders of a longer-term strategic incompetence. We failed to think through the consequences of our victory in the Cold War. As a result, we have not done enough to consolidate our gains. We failed to build on the geo-strategic triumphs of the Reagan-Thatcher era. In 1979, Mrs Thatcher was threatened by socialism at home – abetted by Soviet fellow-travellers – and by Finlandisation on the Continent. That latter contest was equally important to the Americans. The West won, and our victory was even more impressive for costing so little in blood.

But that was not the sole diplomatic achievement of the great Reagan-Thatcher era. Both the President and the Prime Minister were alert to changing circumstances. They recognised Mr Gorbachev as a bridge to a new era, even before he had decided to cross it. They understood the Churchillian maxim: "In victory, magnanimity."

By 1990, there was a powerful case for scrapping the West's Cold War concepts while keeping our weapons systems, just in case. Despite their reputation for intransigence, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher would have been ready to exploit new opportunities. They would have understood the need to move beyond Nato, now that it had served its original purposes. By the early 1990s, there was a need for a new system of collective security in Europe, embracing the Russians. Once Moscow had renounced the ill-gotten gains of 1944-45, we should have welcomed the Russians back to a Europe which had been spiritually impoverished by their absence.

On a practical level, we should have pressed on with Mr Reagan's offer to share anti-ballistic missile technology with the Russians: why not employ some of their scientists in the research work? Once the Communist threat was lifted and the Soviet Empire dismantled, we had no quarrel with Russia. A sustained peace-making effort over the past 15 years would have created a diplomatic means of solving the Georgian question before it became one.

Instead, we have a sullen and truculent Russia demanding respect with menaces. It is possible to make some excuses for all this. The Russian version of history moves from the sacrifices of the Great Patriotic War to the voluntary renunciation of Empire, neither of them receiving adequate gratitude from the West. More recently, on a smaller scale, there is the independence of Kosovo. If Kosovo, why not South Ossetia or Abkhazia? Most Russians do not accept that they have done anything wrong. The Putin-Medvedev administration has a higher popularity score than George Bush and Gordon Brown put together.

The excuses only go so far. The Russians are not fighting Georgia to defend the rights of small nations. They also want to remind Europe where much of its energy comes from. A secure pipeline through Georgia would enable the West to receive oil supplies from Azerbaijan which did not pass through Russian territory. That pipeline is no longer secure, which is why Georgia is more than a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing.

This brings us to the failure of geopolitical thinking. Whichever brute or blaggard made the world, he has a black sense of humour. Much of the oil on which the West depends is located in countries upon whom no one would wish to depend. But this is not a new problem. It has been apparent for two decades, which is why the French in particular have moved so heavily into nuclear power.

We in Britain, less far-sighted, have a choice between clapped-out power stations, fantasies about renewable energy and the vagaries of the international oil market. Our failure to find a nuclear alternative is comparable to our failure to rearm in the late 1930s. Now, as then, it could open us to blackmail and condemn us to appeasement.

Those are longer-term questions, which is no excuse for not addressing them as a matter of urgency. In the short-run, Britain, the EU and above all the US will have the task of bringing some relief to the battered people of Georgia. There is little that we can do beyond calling for restraint, urging a ceasefire, begging all men of goodwill etc. The Georgians will have to give up the struggle to hold on to South Ossetia and they may as well prepare themselves to lose Abkhazia as well. If only that were the end of the problem.
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Re: Russia V Georgia (War) Aug 2008

Postby Chiron » Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:32 pm

Fresh from the oven.

Russian president calls halt to war. No wonder CO price suddenly dropped >1% mins ago.

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europ ... index.html
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