A Chronology of Escalation Leading up to the August 2008 South Ossetiyan Five-Day War: 2003-2008

by Gordon M. Hahn*

2003

A Mikheil Saakashvili comes to power promising to restore Georgia’s full sovereignty and territorial integrity after over a decade of a relatively stable status quo in Georgia’s ‘frozen conflicts’ with its breakaway, internationally unrecognized, but de facto independent republics of South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Adzharia.

2004

MAY – Georgia along with elements in the Adzharian opposition forces removes the Abashidze clan from power and reintegrates the region into Georgia proper with little or no sovereignty.

MAY – The Russian leadership dismantles and leaves its old Soviet military bases at Batumi, Adzharia and Akhalkalaki in the Armenian-populated southern region of Javakheti.

JULY – Saakashvili prepares to repeat the Adzharia scenario in South Ossetia. Georgian MVD troops support Ossetian Sakashvili supporters in a failed bid to take the breakaway republic by force. Around twenty-four Georgian fighters and perhaps some one hundred Ossetian militamen and South Ossetian civilians are killed. Russian forces, including tanks, move through the Caucasus mountains, forcing Saakashvili to halt operations and declare a ceasefire. South Ossetia remains a breakaway republic now even more determined to unite with North Ossetia and Russia.

2005

MAY – U.S. President George W. Bush visits Tbilisi in May 2005. Talk of Georgia’s (and Ukraine’s) entry into NATO gets serious.

2006

Georgian-Ossetian negotiations within the framework of the OSCE-sponsored four-sided peacekeeping Joint Control Commission begin to breakdown.

SUMMER – Georgia arrests several Russian military intelligence officers, charging them with terrorist bombings in Gori. Moscow responds with a land blockade of Georgia by suspending air travel and postal communications, closing its lone road crossing with Georgia, embargoing Georgian exports like wine, and deporting ethnic Georgians illegally residing in Russia back to Georgia.

2007

Georgian-Ossetian negotiations within the framework of the OSCE-sponsored four-sided peacekeeping Joint Control Commission breakdown and meet for the last time.

Russia begins handing out passports to Abkhazia and South Ossetia residents. Russia is providing all social and welfare benefits in the breakaway republics, which Moscow states requires recipients to possess Russian passports. This is a violation of international law and Georgia’s state sovereignty.

Georgia’s defense budget increases from $50 million under Saakashvili’s predecessor Eduard Shevardnadze to $567m in 2007.

MARCH – What are believed to be Russian attack helicopters and artillery fire on the Georgian Government’s administrative offices in Abkhazia’s Upper Kodori Gorge.

JUNE 23 – Georgia establishes an alternative government headed by Dmitrii Sanokoev elected in alternative presidential elections for the republic in 2006 for the breakaway republic of South Ossetia to challenge the authority of the present government of the unrecognized republic headed by Eduard Kokoity. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224116.html]

AUGUST – Russian fighter jets violate Georgian airspace and launch a missile towards a Georgian radar station but miss it.

2008

Georgia’s defense budget increases from $567m in 2007 to almost $1 billion for 2008.

MARCH – Russia announces it will end its compliance with CIS sanctions on Abkhazia which will permit it to send economic and military assistance to Sukhumi.

MARCH 25 – South Ossetia’s MVD chief Mikhail Mindzaev claims that Georgian security services have stepped up their activity in the conflict zone and North Ossetia. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1210498.html]

APRIL – Kremlin reinforces its peacekeeping forces in Abkhazia with 1,500 fresh troops without informing the Georgian side.

APRIL – Russia sends and South Ossetia accepts Russian officials to occupy the offices prime minister, security minister, defense minister, and other posts in the South Ossetian government.

APRIL 2-4 – NATO Bucharest Summit – At its Bucharest summit, NATO
member-states deny Georgia (and Ukraine) a Membership Action Plan, but US President Bush convinces the summit to declare its intent to offer both countries such plans at some time in the future, making their membership in NATO a virtual inevitability.

APRIL 16 – Russian President Putin issues decree establishing direct relations between Moscow and both of Georgia’s breakaway republics, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

April 20 – Russian forces shoot down a Georgian Israeli-made air reconnaissance drone over the conflict zone. The deployment of any sort of aviation by the sides to the conflict is a violation of conditions established by the Joint Control Commission for resolving the Georgian-Ossetian conflict in a 30 July 2002 decision ‘On Unsanctioned Flights of Aviation over the Territory of  the Joint Control Commission’s Responsibility’ approved by all sides.

MAY 15 – Two buses carrying Georgians from Abkhazia’s Gali region are hit with grenades and gunfire in the village of Kurcha, and Georgia blames Abkhaz separatists. Members of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said in a subsequent report that they had uncovered evidence that Georgia had staged the attack. [Nikolaus von Twickel, “Theories Swirl About War’s Beginning,” The Moscow Times, August 28, 2008.]

MAY 29 – A car bomb explodes in South Ossetia’s capitol Tskhinvali on the breakaway republic’s independence day, wounding six. South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity accuses Georgia of “state terrorism.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1218495.html] By June there have been numerous Chechen jihadi-style terrorist attacks (firing on passing vehicles, vehicle-born and remote controlled IEDs, etc.) in South Ossetia committed by unknown elements, but there have been no military actions in the Gorgian-Ossetian conflict zone. The terrorist attacks in South Ossetia have killed 3 and wounded 30, according to the liberal human rights website Kavkaz-uzel.ru. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1222396.html]

JUNE

JUNE 2008 sees slightly more exchanges of fire than a typical month. Crossfire and ceasefire violations come from both sides of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, but Georgian violations predominate. It is a relatively peaceful month compared to what is to come in July and August.

JUNE 1 – Russians send unarmed railroad troops into Abkhazia ostensibly to repair the Abkhaz railroad as part of its effort to end Georgia’s blockade of the breakaway republics. The railroad is used to bring additional Russian forces into Abkhazia which back up an Abkhazian offensive to clear out Georgian MVD troops fro the Kodori Gorge during the August five-day South Ossetian war.

JUNE 14 – In the early morning hours South Ossetia accuses Georgian forces in the villages of Ergneti and Nikozi of firing on South Ossetia, killing 1 and wounding 4. Monitors also find a dugout with ammunition on the Georgian side of the conflict zone [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1223638.html]

JUNE 17 – The North Ossetian branch of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia initiates an appeal to the republic’s parliament through the republic’s central election commission on conducting a referendum in South Ossetia on the Georgian breakaway region’s unification with Russia and North Ossetia. [http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1223416.html]

JUNE 18 – South Ossetia accuses Georgian forces of rapidly and intensively establishing fortified positions in the conflict zone in violation of the 1992 Dargomys ceasefire agreements. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1223412.html]

JUNE 19 – Military observers of the OSCE Mission sponsoring the Joint Control Commission for the Regulation of the Georgian-Ossetian Conflict (JCC) and the Joint (Russian, Georgian, and Ossetian) Peacekeeping Forces (JPF) confirm the Georgians are fortifying their position in the conflict zone in the village of Ergneti in violation of the Dargomys agreements and have established a police post with a firing position illegally within the conflict zone. Earlier the Georgian side rejects the accusations. The Commander of the peacekeeping forces calls on the the OSCE and the Joint Committee of the Combined Peacekeeping Force to acknowledge these violations. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1223638.html]

JUNE 20 – NATO’s general secretary meets with president Saakashvili to discuss the planned conclusion of an Individual Action Plan for Georgian-NATO partnership that would establish Georgia’s official petition for NATO membership, and a traveling session of the North Atlantic Council to be held in Batumi scheduled for September. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224017.html]

JUNE 23 – A delegation visiting South Ossetia from the Council of Europe is ejected from the republic for violating the conditions of the visit’s program by meeting with head of the Georgian-backed alternative government of South Ossetia headed by Dmitrii Sanokoev. [http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224161.html]

JUNE 24 – President of Georgia’s breakaway republic of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, states that Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Moldova’s breakaway republic of Transdnestr are prepared to assist each other in the event of war of anyone of them with Georgia or Moldova, respectively. [http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224200.html]  

JUNE 26 – South Ossetia’s parliament rejects for technical legal reasons a proposal to on conducting a referendum on South Ossetia’s reunification with Russia’s republic of North Ossetia. However, the majority of deputies support the general idea of conducting such a referendum at some point. [http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224349.html]

JUNE 28 – JPF forces in South Ossetia confirmed the flight of an unidentified SU-25 over the conflict zone, stated Captain Vladimir Ivanov, assistant to head of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces on June 30. This is the fifth flight of an unmarked aircraft over the conflict zone in recent months. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224521.html] This does not include the Georgian unmanned reconnaissance drones sited in the zone.

JUNE 30 – Concerned by an increasing number of violations of the conflict zone by both sides, the Joint Peacekeeping Forces call upon Georgia and South Ossetia to renew talks. Peacekeepers note that the Ossetian side has responded to the Georgians’ strengthening of positions at three police posts in Ergneti, Sveri and Kekhvi not agreed with the peacekeeping agreement’s Joint Control Commission by preparing fortifications near the settlement of Tliakan. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224531.html]

— South Ossetia accused Georgian secret services of abducting a citizen of North Ossetia visiting South Ossetia. A similar incident occurred in November 2007. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224539.html]

JULY

JULY 1 – Russian co-chair of the JCC overseeing peacekeeping in South Ossetia, Yurii Popov, proposes a radar observation system in South Ossetia as a confidence-building measure for Georgia and South Ossetia and an emergency session of the co-chairmen of the OSCE Mission for peacekeeping and monitoring. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224589.html]

JULY 3 – Head of the Dmenisi (South Ossetia) police is killed. South Ossetia Minister for Special Affairs and cochairman of the JCC Boris Chochiev blames the Georgian secret services. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224739.html]

— The car of Georgia’s alternative administration for South Ossetia, Dmitrii Sanokoev hits a landmine and is then fired upon by unknown assailants with automatic weapons. Sanokoev is unscathed, but three of his guards are wounded. His administration accuses the unrecognized government of South Ossetia of Eduard Kokoity of attempting to assassinate him.

Georgian media report that Georgian peacekeeping forces have occupied the strategically important highground at Sarabuk overlooking Tskhinvali and surrounding villages. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224739.html]

— South Ossetian cochairman of the JCC, Boris Chochiev, states that Georgia’s secret services were behind the attempted assassination of Sanokoev, that Georgian forces have established 5 illegal posts in the conflict zone and have placed 2 tanks and 3 APCs and are fortifying positions on Sarabuk, and that Georgia has “switched to the realization of the black plans for the coercive resolution of the conflict” in South Ossetia. He demanded that OSCE peacekeepers and observers got to Sarabuk to observe, but the Georgian peacekeeping observer refuses and reports that OSCE observers have as well. Chochiev phones the latter, and OSCE Mission leader Terhi Hakala and Mission senior military observer Steven Young promise to monitor Sarabuk. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224739.html]

— OSCE observers and JPF Russian peacekeeping forces note that the both sides continue establish additional positions inside the conflict zone in Tliakan (by South Ossetians) and in Ergneti, Sveri and Kekhvi (by Georgians) in violation of the ceasefire agreement. The JCC’s Russian cochair Popov states the because of bilateral violations the situation has become “extremely worrisome.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224683.html]

— The Georgian side, according to South Ossetia, shot at a post of the South Ossetian MVD injuring a serviceman, increased their forces in Kohat, Eredvi, Prisi, Avnevi and western Sarabuk, and are refusing to participate in peacekeeping monitoring. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224701.html]

JULY 4 – In early hours of July 4, matters in the conflict area sharply deteriorated. Georgian forces hit nine residential homes in Tskhinvali and the nearby villages of Ubiati and Dmenesi with artillery fire, resulting in 3 dead 11 wounded. In response, South Ossetia announces a general mobilization. Georgia claims the South Ossetian side fired first on the Georgian villages of Tamarasheni and Nikozi but reports no casualties. The South Ossetian side states that Georgian peacekeepers abandoned their posts and went over to the Georgian forces two hours before Georgian forces fired on Tskhinvali. [http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224726.html]

— South Ossetia declares a general mobilization of forces in response to the shelling of Tskhinvali and villages. The mobilization is halted within a few hours, when Georgian forces cease firing, according to South Ossetia president Kokoity. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224743.html]

— Russia called for an immediate session of the JCC, echoing a previous July 1 call for the resumption of its work by way of a meeting in Moscow. The JCC negotiating process stalled in 2007, when it held but one session which ended without any results. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224749.html]

— The website, Kavkaz tsentr, the main propaganda organ of the Caucasus Emirate (IK) jihadists of the Russia’s North Caucasus, posts an article claiming IK’s intelligence department, the ‘Mukhabarat’, has information that Russia will begin a “blitzkrieg” operation against Georgia lasting 7-10 days between August 20 and September 10 on order to seize the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia and weaken Saakashvili. [“Moskva nachnyot voennye deistviya protiv Gruzii v kontse avgusta,” Kavkaz tsentr, 4 July 2008, 8:19, www.kavkazcenter.com/russ/content/2008/07/04/59264.shtml.] On the next day, Moskva.ru posts an article claiming that “several days ago” opposition Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer predicted a similar operation in Abkhazia.

— South Ossetia’s petition the Russian leadership to convince Georgia to cease the attacks on Tskhinvali and defend South Ossetia’s citizens. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224750.html]

— Russian Foreign Minister proposes that all sides sign an agreement rejecting the use of force to resolve the ‘frozen conflicts’ over Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224769.html]

JULY 5 – The Russia Foreign Ministry condemns Georgian attacks on South Ossetia “open act of aggression” against South Ossetia and claims the Georgian side has rejected the Russian offer of a joint investigation of the July 4 attacks on Tskhinvali and Ossetian villages.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224763.html]

— The South Ossetian MVD states that the Georgian side is continuing “provocative actions,” including moving “heavy equipment to South Ossetia’s border for firing on populated areas,” increasing the number of illegal Georgian police posts in the conflict zone to 24, moving troops and equipment to strategic high grounds, and setting up bunkers capable if withstanding aerial bombardment. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224794.html and Georgii Dvali, “Gruziya beret novye vysoty,” Kommersant, 7 July 2008, http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.aspx?DocsID=909759.%5D

— The South Ossetia president’s office releases a statement declaring that “the beginning of a (Georgian) armed operation is coming.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224794.html]

— Commander of the JPF’s Georgia forces rejects South Ossetian charges that it is preparing to fire on or attack the breakaway republic or that anything unusual is going on near the conflict zone. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224800.html]

JULY 6 – The South Ossetian side of the Joint Control Commission for the peacekeeping forces claims that near midnight on July 5 a Georgian police post fired on a South Ossetian MVD post in the village of Ubiati. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224805.html] The Georgian MVD states that a South Ossetian MVD posts in the Nul district and Kekhvi village fired on the Georgian side. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224816.html]  

JULY 8 – At around 1:30am, four Georgian servicemen from an artillery brigade are captured in South Ossetia’s Znaur district and are accused of conducting intelligence activities. One, according to the Ossetian side, has the rank of colonel, and his uniform suggests he is an officer from the Georgian General Staff. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224921.html and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224912.html%5D

— The chief of staff of the Georgian Defense Ministry for the JPF’s Georgian contingent claims that some ten saboteurs were spotted on the Georgian side of the conflict zone and were fired upon by Georgian peacekeeping forces. Some were injured but they managed to escape. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224921.html]

— At a session of Georgia’s national security council broadcast on nationwide television, Georgian president Saakashvili orders Georgia’s Interior Ministry to undertake an operation to free the four Georgian its four servicemen captured in South Ossetia by Tskhinvali. Georgia’s Defense Ministry pledges to do so, claiming they were visiting a family in the conflict zone by its invitation and were captured by Ossetian and North Caucasus militants there.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224944.html; http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224945.html; and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224940.html%5D

— At 6pm the commander of the Georgian contingent of the JPF, speaking from the office of Georgia’s Defense Minister, according commander of the peacekeeping forces Marat Kulakhmetov, tells Kulakhmetov that if the four Georgian servicemen captured conducting intelligence reconnaissance are not released Georgia will “unleash war.” Kulakhmetov also reports that following the call several measures were taken by the Georgian side that appeared to be preparations for war, including the shutting down of his telephone and communications. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225132.html]

— The Georgian side announces that the four Georgian servicemen have been released without giving details as to how or when. South Ossetia president Kokoity explains his side’s decision to free the Georgian soldiers as a “goodwill gesture.”  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224944.html]

— Tskhinvali announces that a 14-year old South Ossetian, Andrei Petrachenko, has been detained by one of Georgia’s power ministries, the Georgian side has evacuated over 300 children from the Georgian villages of Tamarasheni, Nul, Eredvi and Kurta, and that the Georgian side has set up numerous firing points and 60 bunkers in or near the conflict zone. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224940.html]

— Russia presents a draft resolution on the situation in the conflict zones of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to the UN Security Council in which “deep concern over the explosions in Abkhazia and sympathy in connection with the recent artillery attack on the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali” was expressed. The draft also called on the parties in the conflict zone to show restraint and sign an agreement rejecting the use of force. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224951.html]

JULY 9 – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on her way to Prague and Tbilisi, states that the purpose of her trip to Georgia is to demonstrate US support for Georgia and its territorial integrity, that extending a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia, which the US administration will achieve, would help resolve Georgia’s frozen conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and that she sees no connection between the deterioration of the situation in the conflict zone with plans to expand NATO to Georgia.[www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224956.html]

— Chief of staff for peacekeeping operations of the Georgian Defense Ministry Mamuka Kurashvili states that Georgia refused to make any deals with Tskhinvali for the release of four detained Georgian servicemen days earlier and promised “an adequate response.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224967.html]

— Georgia releases South Ossetian teenager Andrei Petrachenko, who they accused of espionage. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224968.html and www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224992.html]

— Georgia’s Defense Ministry announces that four Russian military planes violated Georgian airspace over South Ossetia this day. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225062.html]

— Russia’s representative to NATO, Dmitrii Rogozin, states that Russia will not permit a conflict in the Caucasus or NATO’s expansion into its sphere of interests.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224966.html]

— The Russian Foreign Ministry releases a statement saying that Georgian actions in the conflict zone are an “open, previously planned act of aggression,” that Georgia had plans for a spring 2008 invasion of Abkhazia, that Georgia is behind recent terrorist explosions in Abkhazia, and that Tbilisi is “consciously aggravating tensions in relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia” to achieve the “destruction of the peacekeeping architecture in the region with the intent to replace it with new mechanism suitable tio the Georgian side.” The statement called on the international community “to concentrate efforts for restraining aggressive actions that can push the development of events….in a catastrophic direction.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1224973.html]

JULY 10 – South Ossetia announces that during the early morning hours gunfire from the Georgian hit a South Ossetian MVD post near the settlement of Avnevi. No casualties are reported.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225032.html]

— The parliament of Russia’s republic of North Ossetia calls on the Georgian side to return to the negotiating table. [/www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225050.html]

— Commander of Russia’s North Caucasus Military District (SKVO), Gen. Sergei Makarov, states that should there be combat in the conflict zone Russian forces will come to the assistance of Russian peacekeepers, separate the sides in the conflict, render humanitarian assistance, defend the rights of Russian citizens, and evacuate civilians from the conflict zone. He stated that already conducted exercises as well as inspections and training showed that the SKVO’s forces to be prepared to fulfill these tasks. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225056.html]

— Georgia’s Minister for Reintegration of Abkhazia and South Ossetia Temur Yakobashvili states that Russia’s April 16 decision to establish direct relations with Georgia’s breakaway republics was responsible for the situation’s deterioration and that it was necessary to “change the peacekeeping format.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225056.html]

— Russia’s permanent representative to the OSCE, Vladimir Voronkov, called Georgia’s recent actions a “conscious escalation of tension” in the conflict zone and called on Tbilisi to sign an agreement rejecting the use of force to resolve the ‘frozen conflicts’ and then resume talks under the JCC. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225059.html]

 — Georgian president Saakashvili states at a press conference with visiting US Secretary of State Rice that Russia violated the Dargomys ceasefire agreement by flying air forces into Georgian airspace over South Ossetia on the previous day. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225062.html]

— Russia confirms its planes made a “short flight” into South Ossetia’s airspace “as the need arose to take emergency, active measures in order to prevent bloodshed.” The Russian Foreign ministry claims there was a threat that Georgian forces would attempt to use force to free the four Georgian servicemen being released by South Ossetia at about that time. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225062.html]

— Rice meets with Goergia’s alternative South Ossetian government leader and “dubious ‘businessman’ saddled with gambling debt, Dmitrii Sanokoev. [Uwe Klussmann, “Georgian Tanks Vs. Ossetian Teenagers,” Der Spiegel, August 26, 2008.]

— Georgia presents a note of protest to Russia’s representative in Tbilisi and recalls its ambassador in Moscow for consultations as a response to Moscow’s violation of Georgian airspace the previous day. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225070.html]

JULY 11 – Commander of the peacekeeping forces Marat Kulakhmetov notes the urgency of resuming negotiations under JCC auspices, which the Georgian side, “first of all,” is refusing to do. He also reports continuing equipping and fortification of positions by Georgian forces in the conflict zone “aimed at unleashing aggression.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225132.html]

            — Georgia refuses to attend a session of the JCC in Moscow at the end of July proposed by the Russian side. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225139.html]

            — Georgia’s Foreign Minister announces that preparations for a scheduled late July meeting between the Russian and Georgian presidents have been stopped. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225177.html]

            — Georgia requests an UN Security Council emergency session on Russia’s July 8 violation of its airspace, charging that “Russian armed forces are openly supporting separatists” engaging in “terrorism” on Georgian territory. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225139.html]

JULY 12 – A meeting between the Russian and Georgian presidents scheduled for late July is postponed. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225177.html]

            — High representative of the European Union for foreign and defense policy Xavuer Solana agrees with Georgia that Russia’s flight into Georgian airspace over South Ossetia is a violation of ceasefire agreements and condemns it. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225210.html]

            — Georgian president Saakashvili calls on for deeper cooperation among Black Sea countries at a forum on the Black Sea convened in Crimea, Ukraine and declares that Georgia “does not need bombers, tanks and weapons, we need peace and quiet.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225224.html]

JULY 13 – The French chair of the European Union releases a statement expressing “deep concern” over mounting tensions on the Georgian conflict zones. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225317.html]

— In an exclusive interview on Georgia’s Rustavi-2 television channel focused mostly on Abkhazia rather than South Ossetia, US Secretary of State Rice expresses US support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and direct talks between Georgia and Abkhazia and confidence that Georgia’s ‘frozen conflicts’ “will be resolved peacefully” and repeats Western criticisms of Russian actions in Abkhazia in recent months (e.g., Russian railroad troops’ entry into Abkhazia). [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225233.html]

            — The Georgian parliament meets in extraordinary session to consider but decides to refrain for the time being to call on the Georgian executive branch to establish a policy to shoot down Russian air forces that violate the country’s airspace. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225240.html]

JULY 14 – It is announced that the Ossetian contingent of the Russian-led international peacekeeping force will be increased by 50 troops in response to growing tensions and the increase in the Georgian army by 5,000 troops likely to be passed by the Georgian parliament within days. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225355.html]

— The US State Department and White House spokesman John MacCormack expresses the US’s “concern” over Russian air forces’ violation of Georgia’s airspace on September 8 and the “recent escalation in violence” in the conflict zones. [www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2008/07/106999.htm and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225375.html%5D

JULY 15 – Georgian president Saakashvili calls upon the international community to “confront Russia” in order to avoid a conflict in the region in an interview in the British daily The Times. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225380.html]

— Joint Georgian-American military exercises titled ‘Immediate Response’ that include 1,000 US troops, 600 Georgian troops, and officers from Armenia, Azerbaijian and Ukraine. Commander of the US’s Southern European command denies the exercises are connected with growing tensions in Georgia.

            — Russian forces of the North Caucasus Military District (SKVO) begin exercises titled ‘Caucasus 2008.’ Col. Igor Konashenkov, assistant to commander of the SKVO forces states: “The main goal of the exercise is to assess the ability of the military manangment bodies for joint action in conditions of a terrorist threat in Russia’s south. In connection with the worsening of the situation in the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-Osetian conflict zones there will also be worked out in the exercise questions of the participation of the district’s troops in special peacemaking operation in zones of armed conflict. Around 8,000 people have been activated for the maneuvers.” In addition to the SKVO’s troops units are added subunits of the Airborne Troops, Air Forces, Air defense forces, the Black Sea Fleete naval base, the Caspian flotilla, the border and internal troops for the exercise. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225401.html citing Itar-Tass]

            — South Ossetia declares it is considering whether to submit a request to join the Union of Russia and Belarus in the near future, viewing membership as a potential method for guaranteeing the Georgian breakaway republic’s security and strengthening its ties to Russia. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225413.html]

            — The UN announces its Security Council will convene at Tbilisi’s July 11 request a special session on July 21 to discuss Russia’s violation of Georgia’s airspace. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225424.html]

            — US Secretaray of State Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discuss by telephone two issues: the situation in Georgia and Iran’s nuclear program.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225494.html]

JULY 16 – Georgia adopts large penalties for companies conducting business in its breakaway republics without Tbilisi’s permission. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225435.html]

            — Georgian peacekeeping forces that left their observation posts fifty minutes before the Georgians’ July 4 artillery bombardment of Tskhinvali return to their posts. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225447.html]

            — The Georgian Foreign Ministry criticizes the SKVO command’s scenario for military maneuvers that involve peacemaking operations on Georgian territory and calls on Russia “to refrain from irresponsible statements and cease the aggressive policy.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225483.html]

JULY 17 – The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier begins a trip to the region in order to put a halt to the deterioration of the situation. However, his efforts concentrate almost exclusively on the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict, ignoring the worsening situation around South Ossetia. His plan for resolving the conflict in Abkhazia, as reported in the German press foresees three srages. First, confidence-building measures, the signing of an agreement to refrain from the use of force, the beginning of the return of Georgian refugees to their homes in Abkhazia will be implemented. Second, restoration work will be carried funded by Germany and other donor-countries. The third and final stage envisages resolution of Abkhazia’s political status. Georgia national Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaya states the plan neds “serious changes” and could be combined with Saakashvili’s proposal to grant Abkhazia broad autonomy. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225517.html]

            — The EU and Germany do not support Georgia’s demand for the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers, states Georgian opposition leader David Gamkrelidze from his meetings with Steinmeier and other Europeans. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225559.html]

            — Georgian president Saakashvili states: It is here, in Georgia, that the fate of the new European world order is being resolved.” He also states th Steimeier’s visit is a continuation of the process which began with Condoleezza Rice’s visit, the process of the activization of international diplomatic initiative. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225559.html citing RIA ‘Novosti’]

JULY 19 – South Ossetia rejects a meeting with Georgian representatives under EU auspices in Brussels because Georgia will be represented by its Ministry of Reintegration and representatives from the neighboring Russian republic of North Ossetia will not be invited. North Ossetia is the locale of some 80,000 mostly ethnic Ossetian refugees who left Georgian South Ossetia during the 1991-92 interethnic violence and war. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225662.html]

JULY 20 – Georgia announces it previously detained four South Ossetian citizens at a police post in the conflict zone. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225753.html]

JULY 21 – The UN Security Council’s special session convened at Georgia’s request meets in closed session. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225714.html]

            — The JCC peacekeeper spokesman Cpt. Leonid Ivanov reports that observer posts of the combined peacekeeping mission forces sited five flights by unidentifiable “flying apparata” over Georgia and South Ossetia between 9:10pm, July 19 and 5:05am, July 20. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225748.html]

            — South Ossetian MVD officials conduct negotiations for the release of South Ossetians captured by the Georgian side as announced the previous day. They claim Georgian law enforcement officers detained the South Ossetians in retaliation for South Ossetia law enforcement’s detention of Georgian citizen Teimuraz Goginashvili and threaten to torture the detainees every hour until Goginashvili is released. Two of the four are released at 5:40pm. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225756.html]

JULY 22 – The UN Security Council fails to come to an agreement on a position regarding Russia’s violation of Georgia’s airspace [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225763.html]

            — Georgian Reintegration Minister Temur Yakobashvili is appointed Georgian president Saakashvili’s special representative for conflicts. He announces Georgia will use every special UN Security Council session in order to achieve a reformatting of the peacekeeping mission in the breakaway republic conflict zones, meaning an to Russian peacekeeping troops’ dominant position within the force or Russian peacekeepers’ full withdrawal from the force. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225786.html] 

JULY 23 – Russian and North Ossetian JPF peacekeepers say that again at 22:30pm Moscow time, July 22, flying apparata were sited over Georgia and South Ossetia moving silently and slowly, suggesting they are Georgia’s Israeli-made reconnaissance air drones. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225859.html]

JULY 24 – Military observers from the JPF announce they have observed more efforts to fortify positions in the form of two freshly dug trenches found between the Georgian village of  Mejvriskhevi and the Ossetian village of Gromi. The observers could not ascertain which side perpetrated this violation of the ceasefire agreement. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225906.html]

            — South Ossetia releases previously detained Goginashvili, whose detention is claimed by South Ossetian police to be the reason for Georgian law enforcement’s detention of four South Ossetians, two of whom were previously released. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225930.html]

JULY 25 – Terhi Hakala, head of the OSCE Mission in Georgia meets in Tskhinvali with the Ossetian co-chairmen of the JCC Boris Chochiev. They discussed Hakala’s talks in Moscow with the Russian Foreign Ministry and Security Council, the OSCE chair Finland’s proposal to convene a meeting of the JCC co-chairmen and Georgian Reintegration Minister Yakobashvili in Helsinki, economic recovery efforts, and increasing the number of OSCE Mission military observers. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225950.html]

            — One citizen Valerii Jioev hits a landmine driving between the Georgian and Ossetian sides of the conflict zone and is killed. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1225999.html]

JULY 26 – The JCC military observers’ spokesman, Russia Cpt. Ivanov, declares that both the Georgian and Ossetian sides are again violating the ceasefire agreements. He notes that on July 25 the Ossetian side refused military observers access to the location where new fortifications were allegedly constructed at the Ossetian MVD post in the settlement of Chorbauli. Ivanov also noted another Georgian reconnaissance drone flight was observed in the area of the Georgian village of Tamarasheni, making a total of 30 illegal flights by such drones since April 15. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226035.html]

            — South Ossetian prosecutors claim that the death of Ossetian citizen Jioev from an explosion of a landmine was no accident, blaming Georgia’s secret services for an attack. Military observers found two remote-operated explosive devices in the area of the mine explosion. The JCC counts 12 IED attacks in the Ossetian conflict zone from the beginning of the year, killing 5 and wounding 25. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226055.html] Improvised explosive devices made from landmines are a common weapon in guerilla warfare.

JULY 27 – New wholes, recently found in water pipes, are causing water shortages in Tskhinvali. This is part of a recurring pattern of large wholes being made by unknown persons in the pipeline. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226070.html]

JULY 29 – JPF troops’ spokesman, Cpt. Ivanov, accuses South Ossetian forces of firing over the heads of, and preventing JPF troops from inspecting the area where new fortifications were allegedly constructed at the Ossetian MVD post in the settlement of Chorbauli. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226182.html]

            — The Georgian and Ossetian sides accuse each other of firing on the other side in the course of the day. The Georgian peacekeeping forces’ commander Mamuka Kurashvili claims that in the early morning hours the Ossetian side fired on the villages of Sveri and Sarabuk and at 10am the Ossetian side fired on Russian peacekeepers and OSCE monitors near the village of Kverneti. Observers note there was a mutual exchange of fire and firing on monitors and pledge to sort out which side initiated the fighting. The Ossetian side also asserts there were artillery salvos coming from the Georgian side [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226204.html; www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226200.html; http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226217.html%5D

            — Apparently having in mind this day’s exchanges and volleys of fire, South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity promises to refrain as long as possible from responding, to but if necessary will answer the Georgian side’s alleged provocations. He also proposes increasing the number of peacekeepers by 300 soldiers. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226204.html and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226217.html%5D

JULY 30 – South Ossetia accuses the Georgian side again of firing on the villages of Sarabuk and Tliakana during the evening of July 29. The Georgians accuse the Ossetians of firing on peacekeeping troops, Georgian police, and villages in the early morning hours of July 30. A 36-year Ossetian law enforcement officer is wounded in this apparent exchange of fire. Georgian fire comes primarily from the Sarabuk high ground where, the South Ossetian side claims, Georgian peacekeepers have built fortified positions and are firing using the advantage of the high ground. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226221.html and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226260.html%5D

JULY 31 – The South Ossetian state security forces assert that Georgian security forces are selling car bombs. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226283.html]

            — South Ossetia demands that Georgia act to restore the supply of water to the breakaway republic. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226292.html]

            — South Ossetian MVD twice hinder OSCE military observers from performing their duties, according to JPF spokesman Cpt. Ivanov, blocking efforts to observe what monitors believed to be Ossetian MVD fortifying positions near a police post in Zemo-Prisi and an immigration post between Tskhinvali and the Georgian village of Ergneti. This is third time this week the Ossetian side has obstructed observers. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226343.html]

LATE JULY – EARLY AUGUST – Turkey, which helped to train Georgia’s armed forces, is reported to have refused to share radar and other military data with Georgia during the series of tit-for-tat sniper, mortar, and artillery attacks between Georgia and Russia that preceded the breakout of full-scale war on August 7-8. [“The West and Russia: Cold comfort,” The Economist, September 6-12, 2008.] The Economist report to this effect suggests other NATO powers were sharing information during this low-intensity fighting.

AUGUST

AUGUST 1 – Six Georgian policemen are wounded, one gravely, when their car apparently exploded by an IED on the detour road Tsveriakho running between the Big and Little Liakhvi Gorges. Another remotely controlled explosive device was found fifteen meters from the scene of the explosion. Chairman of the assembly of the village Little Liakhvi claims, according to Georgia Online, that the attack occurred at the place of an assassination attempt one month earlier against the head of Georgia’s alternative government for South Ossetia Dmitrii Sanokoev. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226350.html] [[At 08:00, a pickup truck carrying six Georgian police officers is hit by two remote-control explosive devices on the Eredvi-Kheiti bypass road linking Georgia proper with the Didi Liakhvi Gorge, a Georgian enclave north of the breakaway region’s capital Tskhinvali. Five of the six Georgian policemen are severely wounded. The Government of Georgia decides not to retaliate in order not to escalate the situation.]]

            — The South Ossetian side reports that Georgian sniper fire on Tskhinvali and surrounding South Ossetian villages lasts for a good part of the evening, killing six and seriously wounding twelve. Firing focused on posts of South Ossetian police and security posts in Tskhinvali and the villages of Velit, Pris, Dmenis, and Sarabuk beginning at 6pm local time and ending around 9pm. Georgian forces were also reportedly digging in on the western and eastern limits of Tskhinvali in the villages of Ergneti and Zemo-Nikozi.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226379.html, www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226382.html, and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226385.html%5D

            — The South Ossstia’s Deputy Minister of Defense and Emergency Situations Ibragim Gasseev promises an “adequate response” to the Georgian attacks this day on Tskhinvali and surrounding villages. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226379.html]

AUGUST 2 – The Georgian side again opens intensive fire on Tskhinvali with automatic weapons and mortars from the villages of Ergneti and Nikosi in the early morning hours. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226387.html] The JPF spokesman Cpt. Ivanov confirms that at 5:45am firing resumed between the southwest side of Tskhinval and the Georgian settlement of Zemo-Nikosi. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226390.html]

            — At 2am children begin being evacuated from the area. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226443.html]

            — Commander of the Georgian peacekeeping forces claims there is information suggesting that South Ossetian and Russian peacekeeping forces participated and fired first in the shooting on Aug 1. He provides no details, and this is quickly denied by Russian peacekeepers and the Russian Defense Ministry. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226403.html and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226405.html%5D

— There are reports that the South Ossetian side returned fire on August 1. South Ossetian president Kokoity promises a “very tough” response to the Georgian side’s attacks, reserving the right to hit Georgian cities to the extent they can be reached. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226382.html]

            — The command of the Georgian peacekeeping contingent claims the Georgian side responded to fire from the South Ossetian side on August 1 when it opened fire on Tskhinvali and surrounding villages. They report casualties without specifics and claim the Ossetian fire ceased quickly. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226382.html and www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226385.html]

            — [[Six civilians and one Georgian policeman are injured by gunfire coming from South Ossetian territory controlled by Russian peacekeepers, following the shelling of Georgian villages in the South Ossetian conflict zone overnight. The Georgian-controlled villages of Zemo Nikozi, Kvemo Nikozi, Nuli, Avnevi, Eredvi, and Ergneti come under intense fire from the South Ossetian separatists with large-caliber mortars. Georgian law enforcers initially shoot back in self-defense, but are soon ordered to cease fire in order not to escalate the situation.]]

            — The JPF establishes a temporary observation post near the villages Andzisi and Sveri in response to the previous day’s events. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226382.html]

            — The South Ossetian government begins discussing measures to secure the civilian population’s safety and announces it is prepared to carry out a general mobilization in the republic and raise volunteer fighters from across the North Caucasus in the event of war. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226385.html and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226406.html%5D

            — South Ossetia president Kokoity claims that Georgian tanks, an APC, and the home of a sniper were destroyed in his forces’ response to Georgian sniper and heavy caliber weapons fire and that the Georgian side is hiding the casualty numbers it has suffered. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226406.html]

            — South Ossetia declares an evacuation of women, children and elderly citing as reasons the recent fighting, information suggesting the Georgian side will soon resume fire, and Georgia’s “water blockade” of Tskhinvali. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226410.html]

            — Georgia’s State Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili visits the conflict zone and meets with Georgian villagers, OSCE observers, Gen. Mumuka Kurashvili and commander of the JPF Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov. Yakobashvili declares the need for immediate direct negotiations without preconditions and his willingness to meet with South Ossetia’s leaders, who refuse to meet with him. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226435.html]

AUGUST 3 – [[At 12:00, the South Ossetian separatist government announces the evacuation of more than 500 people, including about 400 children. However, Ermak Dzansolov, deputy prime minister of Russia’s North Ossetian Republic, tells Russia’s Interfax news agency that this is not in fact an evacuation. He explains that the children had long planned to attend a summer-camp program in North Ossetia. Russian media outlets, meanwhile, launch a massive propaganda campaign to whip up public sentiment against Georgia. At 13:00, the South Ossetian separatist government calls for the mobilization of volunteers across the North Caucasus.]]

–According South Ossetia’s Information and Press Minister Irina Gagloeva, the Georgian side resumed fire at 3am on the Ossetian villages of Zelit, Mugut, and Prineu in Znaur district and is bringing additional military forces to the conflict zone. South Ossetia’s Defense and Emergency Situations Ministry reports earlier that along with other troop movements of Georgian forces in and near the conflict zone an artillery division with D-30 artillery guns and mortar batteries of the Georgian Defense Ministry’s 4th Motor Rifle Brigade have been moved from their base in Gori toward Tskhinvali and are now in Yeredvi, five kilometers from Tskhinvali. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226435.html citing Gazeta.ru, http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226443.html%5D

            — As thousands of Ossetian refugees streaming north and some 1,500-2,000 reportedly having already arrived in Russia’s republic of North Ossetia, several thousand ethnic Ossetians rally the republic’s capitol Vladikavkaz in support of their co-ethnics south of the Russian-Georgian border, demanding that Saakashvili cease his aggressive policies. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226440.html]

            — North Ossetia’s president Taimuraz Mansurov promises North Ossetia’s “support” of South Ossetia. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226440.html]

            — Georgian authorities deny their forces are being moved to the conflict zone. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226440.html] 

            — South Ossetia with help from Russian peacekeepers begins the mass evacuation of all women, children and elderly from Tskhinvali and villages in Znaur district to North Ossetia. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226443.html]

            — Abkhaz veterans of the 1992-93 Georgian-Abkhaz war call on Georgian president Saakashvili to cease his belligerent policies and on Russia to prevent Georgia from inciting war and pledge to take up arms in support of Tskhinvali should war break out. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226447.html] Abkhazia’s president Georgii Bagapsh declares that Sukhumi will not attend meeting of the UN General Secretary’s ‘Group of Friends for Georgia,’ which periodically brings together representatives of the US, the EU and Russia to discuss resolution of the conflict. He states that his republic “will not be indifferent” in the event of war in South Ossetia. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226446.html] Abkhazia and South Ossetia have a mutual defense assistance agreement.

            — The South Ossetian MVD moves to a higher state of readiness to deal with the growing crisis, especially its personnel located in the republic’s border areas. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226448.html]

      — South Ossetia’s Defense Ministry states that Georgian armed forces are concentrating on South Ossetia’s borders, and the JCC calls both sides to the negotiating table. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226450.html]

      — Tskhinvali’s mayor states that the city’s water supply has been cut off. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226451.html]

            — JCC military observers together with OSCE Mission officers inspect the zone of fighting on August 1 and conclude that sniper fire followed by heavy caliber, grenade launcher, and mortar fire came first from the Georgian village of Zemo-Prisi in day time followed by early evening fire from the Georgian villages of Tamarasheni, Ergneti, and Zemo-Nikosi. Peacekeeping observers and officers appeal to both sides to bgin talks. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226454.html]

AUGUST 4 – The JPF troops are placed on a high state of alert. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226480.html]

            — Despite the JPF’s high state of alert, a sniper fires on a South Ossetian police post all night until morning. According to JPF spokesman Cpt. Ivanov, the Ossetian side did not return fire. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226481.html] South Ossetia MVD chief Mikhail Mindzaev claims that Georgian snipers were trained by the U.S. and Ukrainian militaries, and South Ossetia president Kokoity claims they supplied Georgia with 40 and 100 sniper rifles, respectively. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226489.html] Ukraine deinies training or supplying Georgian snipers. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226492.html]

— Russia’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement calling for restraint on both sides and immediate resumption of the negotiating process. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226480.html]

            — Evacuation of women, children and elderly from Tskhinvali and surrounding villages to Russia’s North Ossetia proceeds all day. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226483.html and www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226487.html] Tbilisi disregards the reports of South Ossetian evacuations, saying they are part of Tskhinvali’s “information war.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226492.html] After the war Tbilisi says the evacuations were proof that Moscow and Tskhinvali planned, prepared for, and instigated the war.

            — South Ossetia’s MVD reports that the Georgians have moved a division of D-30 howitzers and mortar batteries into the conflict zone. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226489.html citing Novosti-Gruzia]

            — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigorii Karasin in a telephone conversation with US Deputy Secretary of State Daniel Fried expresses Russia’s “deep concern over the new ratcheting up of tension around South Ossetia, the illegal actions of the Georgian side in increasing its armed forces in the region, and the uncontrolled construction of fortifications” and states the Russian side is counting on Washington’s constructive influence over Tbilisi. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226489.html]

            — Abkhazia’s parliament warns that war is imminent and will render all possible assistance to South Ossetia in the event. It accuses Georgia of seeking to resolve the South Ossetia issue by force and violating all previous ceasefire agreements and recommendations by the UN and appeals to the world community, the UN, OSCE, and Russia to exert influence over Georgia right up to peacemaking (peace enforcement). [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226499.html]

            — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigorii Karasin phones Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze. The latter tells Karasin that Tskhinvali is ready to go to any length to prolong its separate status and that Georgia does not plan any extraordinary measures in the conflict zone and is ready to conduct direct talks with South Ossetia’s leaders. An agreement is reached that Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze will visit Moscow in days. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226538.html]

            — Georgian Reintegration Minister Yakobashvili states that Tbilisi has had negotiations with the Russians but now it expects talks under a different format and not with the JCC. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226566.html]

[[AUGUST 4 and 5 – Throughout both days, separatist forces in territories controlled by Russian peacekeepers fire on villages inhabited by ethnic Georgians loyal to the pro-Georgian South Ossetia government. No casualties are reported.]]         

AUGUST 5 – South Ossetia is fired on from the Georgian side twice in the early morning hours. An MVD post in the village of Ubiat is subjected to considerable small arms fire emanating from the Georgian village of Nul. Also a police post was targeted in the villages of Mugut from the Georgian settlement of Dirb. The South Ossetian claims it did not return fire and mentions no casualties. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226566.html]

            — South Ossetian president Kokoity claims that 300 volunteers have arrived from North Ossetia to fight Georgia should it attack and that 2,000 Cossacks and 500 volunteers from Russia’s republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia could be mustered for the same purpose. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226566.html] The North Ossetia MVD later denies president Kokoity’s claim. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226592.html]

            — South Ossetia halts its evacuation apparently for organizational reasons. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226567.html]

            — EU representatives tell Georgian Foreign Minister Yekaterina Tkeshelashvili that they are ready to get more involved in the crisis. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226567.html]

            — JPF spokesman Cpt. Ivanov announces that in the early morning hours of August 2 the Georgian side fired on the South Ossetian side with heavy arms, having found in Georgian-controlled villages shrapnel from 120mm mortar shells and shells from other heavy caliber weapons that are banned from the conflict zone in accordance with Dargomys ceasefire agreements. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226572.html]

            — The Georgian Foreign Ministry states that in the early morning hours Moscow time the South Ossetian side fired on the Georgian village of Nuri. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226590.html]

            — JCC Russian co-chairman and Russian special envoy Yurii Popov announces that the Georgian and South Ossetian sides have agreed to a Russian proposal hold bilateral talks in Tskhinvali on August 7. Novosti-Gruzia reports that Tbilisi will propose demilitarization of the conflict zone, joint Georgian-Russian control over the Georgian-Russian border around the Roki tunnel, consideration of an increase in the number of OSCE observers in the conflict zone. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226579.html]

            — Georgian Reintegration Minister Yakobashvili states that the talks will not take place under the auspices of the JCC which, he states, has “outlived itself” and Georgia supports direct talks with the Russian and EU taking part as well. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226579.html]

            — South Ossetia’s representative to Russia Dmitrii Medoev calls for resumption of the four-way JCC talks involving Russia, Georgia, North Ossetia, and South Ossetia. He regards direct talks in Tskhinvali without Russia’s participation as a “trap” and notes the importance of sticking to the internationally recognized JCC format. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226579.html citing RIA ‘Novosoti’]

         — South Ossetia denies it has agreed to direct consultations in Tskhinvali as proposed by Moscow between South Ossetian co-chair of the JCC Boris Chochiev and Georgian Reintegration Minister Yakobashvili, stating that has always been willing to resume talks but only under four-sided JCC format. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226591.html]

            — NATO representative Cameron Romero states NATO has no information regarding any concentration of Georgian forces in or around the conflict zone. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226582.html]

            — Tskhinvali’s mayor Robert Guliev announces the breakaway republic’s capitol is completely deprived of water supply. South Ossetia president Kokoity threatens to cut off drinking water to Georgia supplied through pipes running through the republic. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226593.html]

            — The JPF peacekeepers and OSCE monitors investigate claims by the Georgian side of unexploded ordnance in the Georgian villages of Prisi and Ergneti and are unable to confirm them, finding evidence of 14 exploded grenades, which the JPF concludes were detonated during the fighting on August 1-2. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226676.html]

AUGUST 6 – South Ossetia resumes evacuations [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226657.html]

            — In the early morning hours, sporadic small arms, sniper, and machine gun fire targets South Ossetian MVD posts in Sarabuk and the Tskhinvali post in the north of Tskhinvali, reconnaissance drones are cited over South Ossetia, and the Georgian side continues to bring more armed force near the conflict zone, states chairwoman of South Ossetia’s Press and Information Committee Irina Gagloeva [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226657.html; www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226666.html; and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226670.html%5D

            — The South Ossetian Defense Ministry states that at 11am Georgian forces attempted to take control of the Nul high ground by force firing on the nearby villages Mugut and Didmukh in an attempt to control the strategic Znaur road. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226670.html]

            — The Georgian side denies its forces have been firing in Znaur district near Nul, Mugut, and Didmukh and claims armored vehicles are in the conflict zone on the South Ossetian side. The JPF and OSCE observers find no evidence to support the latter claim.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226676.html]

            — South Ossetia’s MVD reports that its forces are undermanned by 536. President Kokoity orders the recruitment of North Ossetian volunteers to make up the difference. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226676.html]

            — [[16:00. Separatists reject plea for negotiations and refuse to meet with Georgia’s envoy for conflict resolution, Temur Yakobashvili, who has traveled to Tskinvali to meet with them. Temur Yakobashvili, Georgia’s chief negotiator and its state minister for reintegration, says in late-night televised remarks that the Georgian government is seeking a direct dialogue with the separatist authorities in order to reverse the deteriorating security situation. Mr. Yakobashvili says that Russia’s Ambassador-at-large Yuri Popov would attend the talks as a facilitator. The South Ossetian chief negotiator, Boris Chochiev, refuses to take part in any negotiations.]]

            — The South Ossetian government officially rejects bilateral talks with the Georgian side proposed by Moscow, reiterating its commitment to resume talks only under the four-sided JCC format. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226680.html]

            — The Ukrainian Defense Ministry states a group of 19 Ukrainian special troops is carrying out military exercises at a base in Georgian hills under a NATO program and will remain there until August 24. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226686.html]

            — South Ossetia Press and Information Committee chairwoman Gagloeva reports that illegal Georgian posts near Avnevi opened fire at 4pm on the village of Khetagurovo near Tskhinvali. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226689.html citing Gazeta.ru]

            — South Ossetian militia and Georgian special forces engage in battle in the village of Nul, which Tskhinvali states is a successful effort to drive Georgian forces from the Nul highground they recently captured. South Ossetia reports 100 Georgian special forces participated in the battle, two destroyed Georgian APCs, and massive Georgian fire on Nul. The JFP and OSCE monitiros report a cessation of fire after a few hours. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226689.html and www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226691.html] The next day the report is changed to one destroyed APC and several killed Georgian soldiers. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226757.html]

            — South Ossetia Press and Information Committee chairwoman Gagloeva reports that Georgian forces are continuing to move units towards South Ossetian towards population centers. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226693.html]

— South Ossetia reports no casualties after Georgian forces opened fire from an APC and destroyed a South Ossetian MVD post at the entrance to the village of Avnevi and that Tskhinvali has sent OMON reinforcements there.  [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226696.html]

            — South Ossetia reports Georgian fire that ceased ay 7pm resumed at 9:30 pm local time in the form of high-caliber weapons targeting the village of Tsunar. South Ossetia’s Defense Ministry reports that president Kokoity inspected all MVD posts and gave orders on securing the Tsunar area. The South Ossetian side suffers three wounded, who are identified by name and include one elderly woman and two young men. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226698.html citing RIA Novosti and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226717.html%5D

— Georgia’s Tsunar district administration head Georgii Kapanadze states that the Ossetian side is directing heavy fire in the direction of the Georgian villages of Nul and Dvan. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226698.htmlciting Gazeta.ru]

— The Georgians state that the Ossetian side fired first. [[At 8:00pm South Ossetian para-militaries open mortar fire on villages inhabited by ethnic Georgians. The separatists open mortar fire on Georgian populated villages of Eredvi, Prisi, Avnevi, Dvani, and Nuli. Georgian government forces fire back in order to defend their positions and the civilian population. As a result of intensive cross-fire during the night, two servicemen of the Georgian battalion of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces are injured. The separatist regime also claims several of their forces are hurt. Despite these provocative, targeted attacks on peaceful civilians and on Georgian police and peacekeeping forces, the Government of Georgia decides not to respond with heavy fire, in order not to injure civilians.]] The Georgian Foreign Ministry states: “The bandit groupings of the criminal regime of Tskhnvali region is opening fire on peaceful villages with the intention of provoking the Georgian police and peacekeeping battalion into a forced responding fire.” The South Ossetian authorities, according to the statement, are attempting to scuttle the planned meeting between Georgian reintegration Minister Yakobashvili and Ossetian representatives in Tskhinvali (a meeting Tskhinvali has already rejected). The statement asserts that Tbilisi plans no extraordinary measures in the conflict zone and is prepared for direct dialogue. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226720.html citing ‘Novosti-Gruziya’]

— There are eight JFP sightings of some kind of aviation over South Ossetia this night, reports JFP commander Marat Kulakhmetov. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226739.html]

AUGUST 7 – By the morning of August 7 Georgia had amassed 12,000 troops on its border to South Ossetia, and 75 tanks and armored personnel carriers were positioned near Gori, according to Western observers interviewed after the war. [Manfred Ertel, Uwe Klussmann, Susanne Koelbl, Walter Mayr, Matthias Schepp, Holger Stark and Alexander Szandar, “Road to War in Georgia,” Der Spiegel, 25 August 2008, posted on Johnson’s Russia List, #162, 31 August 2008, http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/ (accessed 31 August 2008).]

            — South Ossetia president Kokoity states that “a large part of Georgia’s armed forces are located in the conflict zone” and that on the previous day Georgia brought up from Gori 26 152-millimeter howitzers, 20 tanks, and a large number self-propelled ordnance to level fire on the Prisi highground, which Georgian forces tried to take. According to Kokoity, the Georgians were stopped by Ossetian forces. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226737.html citing RIA ‘Novosoti’ and www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226738.html]

— [[At 9:00am in an interview with Russian news agencies, South Ossetian de facto president Eduard Kokoity declares that if the Georgian government does not withdraw its military forces from the region, he would start “to clean them out.” The Georgian military forces to which he refers are peacekeepers, legally present in the South Ossetia conflict zone.]] According to Kavkaz-uzel, Kokoity states that if Georgian forces do not “heed the opinion of peacekeepers,” then Tskhinvali’s forces will begin to force them to before dinner this day. He also calls Popov’s visit to Tskhinvali potentially dangerous due to continuing combat fire but supports his mission and four-sided JCC talks. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226737.html and http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226739.html%5D

— The South Ossetian side reports weapons fire directed from the Georgian-controlled village of Erdevi aimed at the village of the Ossetian village of Dmenis beginning at 00:05am and intensifying as the night went on. Some time later Russian news agency ‘Interfax’ reports the sound of large caliber ordnance exploding on Tskhinvali’s north side. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226717.html]

            — [[At 9:45am a Russian military jet drops bombs near a Georgian military radar based 30 kilometers outside of the conflict zone. According to local civilian witnesses, at about 9:45am, a fighter plane, presumed to be Russian (it enters Georgia from the South Ossetian conflict zone) drops 3-5 bombs near the village of Shavshvebi, approximately 300-500 meters from the location of a Georgian military radar.]]

            — South Ossetian MVD chief Medoev claims Ossetian forces have retaken the highground near Nul. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226717.html] [[Separatist militia resume shelling the Georgian villages of Nuli.]]

            — Citing South Ossetian Deputy Defense Minister Gassaev, ‘Interfax’ reports: Georgian “armour, artillery, and troops” are concentrating around the village of Dmenis and that it is under heavy fire with casualties and 20 percent of its houses destroyed; the villages of Sarabuk and Satikar are also under fire; and Georgian forces are firing and advancing on the Prisi highground. The South Ossetian authorities claim that their forces withheld return fire for a while, but now Ossetian forces have begun to respond in kind. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226720.html]

            — Tskhinvali states that the number of wounded on the Ossetian side as a result of heavy caliber artillery and mortar fire on Tskhinvakli coming from the Georgian villages of Ergneti and Nikozi is eight. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226742.html]

            — Georgian Reintegration Minister Yakobashvili says the overnight fighting occurred as Georgian forces responded to fire from the Ossetian side which fired thinking Georgian forces had taken the Nul highground. He calls on the Ossetian side to cease firing on Georgian villages. Yakobashvili states that after conversations with Russian diplomats he believes “they also do not want an escalation of the situation in the region” and that the Georgian-Ossetian meeting in Tskhinvali scheduled for this day will be attended by JCC Russian co-chair Yurii Popov, who will fly to Tbilisi in morning. A Russian Foeriegn Ministry representative confirms Popov has flown to Tbilisi. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226735.html] There is no mention of the arrival of the JCC North Ossetian representative, the participation of which Tskhinvali demands along with that of Moscow.

            — Arriving in Tbilisi, JCC Russian co-chairman Popov says that given yesterday’s rejection by the Ossetians of direct negotiations, he is prepared if necessary for “shuttle diplomacy” between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226738.html]

            — Georgia’s Rustavi-2 television reports that the Ossetian side directed “intensive fire” on the Georgian villages of Eredvi and Prisi all night and later fired on the Sarabuk strategic highground wounding two. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226737.html]

            — Georgian fire (from the Prednulskii district) resumes at 10am after a lull on Ubiati. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226739.html]

            — Interfax reports eyewitnesses seeing 20 trucks of soldiers, 20 Toyota jeeps, 3 APCs, 3 rapid-fire artillery systems, 3 artillery canons and all together some 200 soldiers moving from Kutaisi to Gori. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226757.html]

            — South Ossetia Security Council chairman Anatolii Barankevich accuses Georgia of moving large columns of troops towards South Ossetia, positioning 27 rapid-fire artillery systems ‘Grad’ in Gori raion, positioning forces all along South Ossetia’s border, and “beginning large-scale military aggression” against the breakaway republic. He states the village of Khetagurovo and its surroundings was subjected to two hours of heavy bombardment by Georgian 150-millimeter guns and that “the village is burning.” JPF spokesman Cpt. Ivanov reports that at 3:45pm local time the JCC’s Georgian military observers abandoned their post and at 3:50pm Georgian forces began firing on Khetagurovo. The JFP reports the area is quiet at 5:00pm. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226765.html citing Gazeta.ru and Itar-Tass]

— [[Separatist militia resume shelling the Georgian villages of Avnevi. Three Georgian servicemen are injured after the South Ossetian separatist forces blow up an infantry combat vehicle belonging to the Georgian peacekeeping battalion in Avnevi. Georgian police respond by firing towards the separatist militia in the village of Khetagurovo, where two separatist militiamen are killed and two more wounded. Later, the Georgian peacekeeping checkpoint in Avnevi is bombed and several Georgian servicemen and civilians are killed.]] Georgian MVD official Shota Khizanoshvili reports that the Ossetian side subjected the Georgian village of Avnevi to ninety minutes of “intensive fire” and that two Georgian peacekeeping soldiers were wounded when their military transport vehicle exploded. Georgian Rustavi-2 television reported that near a vehicle carrying journalists was fired upon near Ergneti. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226765.html citing ‘Novosti-Gruzia’]

— Georgian minister Yakobashvili and JPF commander Kulakhmetov meet in Tskhinvali, and JCC Russian co-chair Popov is expected to arrive shortly. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226765.html citing Itar-Tass]

— [[The separatist government of South Ossetia refuses to negotiate with Georgian envoy Temur Yakobashvili, who again travels to Tskhinvali to plead for peace. At 3:00pm Yakobashvili visits the conflict zone in the morning of August 7 to meet with representatives of the separatist government. The separatists refuse to meet or negotiate with him. Instead, Yakobashvili confers in Tskhinvali with Marat Kulakhmetov, commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces.]]

— NATO and the EU urge Georgia and South Ossetia “not to resort to violence and show restraint.” [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226768.html]

            — [[At 6:30pm Georgian president Saakashvili announces a unilateral ceasefire in an attempt by the Government to defuse tensions. Temur Yakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration and envoy for conflict resolution, says at a press conference at 6:40pm that he is continually seeking to contact the separatist authorities, but without success.]]

            — Kavkaz-uzel reports, without citing any source, that the Georgian and Ossetian sides have agreed to a ceasefire until a meeting between Georgian Integration Minister and South Ossetian JCC co-chairman Chochiev scheduled for August 8 under Russian sponsorship but outside the JCC framework. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226771.html]

— [[At 8:00pm]] Georgian president Saakashvili accuses Russian television of military propaganda that is worsening the situation and charges Russia with several years of a policy of “hysterical militarization and constant military rhetoric.” He calls on Moscow to remove all Russian personnel serving in the South Ossetian government. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226757.html citing RIA ‘Novosti’ and Gazeta.ru]

            — [[At 8:30pm, the village of Avnevi in the South Ossetia conflict zone— inhabited by ethnic Georgians— is totally destroyed by mortar fire.]]

            — At 8:30pm Western intelligence reports that Georgian artillery opens fire on Tskhinvali. [Ertel, Klussmann, Koelbl, Mayr, Schepp, Stark and Szandar, “Road to War in Georgia,” Der Spiegel, 25 August 2008.]

            — [[At 9:00pm South Ossetia Security Council chairman Barankevich threatens to employ Russian Cossack mercenary troops from North Ossetia heading towards South Ossetia to fight Georgian peacekeepers.]]

            — At 10:00pm Tbilisi informs JPF commander Kulakhmetov that the cease fire is terminated because of continued Ossetian shelling of Georgian villages. [Ertel, Klussmann, Koelbl, Mayr, Schepp, Stark and Szandar, “Road to War in Georgia,” Der Spiegel, 25 August 2008.] OSCE monitors report no such shelling. [Peter Finn, “A Two-Sided Descent into Full-Scale War,” Washington Post, August 17, 2008, www. washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/16/AR2008081600502_pf.html cited in Nicolai Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline, August 7-16, 2008,” accessed on August 28, 2008 at http://npetro.net/7.html%5D

— [[At 10:30pm South Ossetia paramilitaries attack the Georgian-controlled village of Prisi, leaving several civilians wounded.]]

— At 11:05 Mamuka Kurashvili, chief of the Georgian Defense Ministry’s peacekeeping operations, declares the end of the ceasefire and the beginning of Georgian military operations to “restore constitutional order throughout the region” [“’Georgia Decided to Restore Constitutional Order in S. Ossetia’ – MoD Official,” Civil Georgia, August 8, 2008, http://www.civil.georgia.ge/eng/article.php?id=18941&search=Kurashvili%5D.

            — At 11:30pm heavy shelling of Tskhinvali resumes directed from the Georgian villages of Ergneti and Nikozi using ‘Grad’ rapdid-fire artillery systems. Georgian and Ossetian forces are engaged in battle at the edge of Tskhinvali [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226774.html citing Itas-Tass and the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee]

— [[At 11:30pm heavy shelling by South Ossetian forces open fire on all Georgian checkpoints around the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, including those located near the villages of Tamarasheni and Kurta. The police stations in the Georgian Kurta is destroyed as a result of heavy shelling.]]

            — Georgian MVD analytical department chief Shotashvili states there were 10 killed and more than 50 wounded by the alleged Ossetian shelling of Georgian villages that day. [www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226772.html]

AUGUST 8 – At 2:45am Georgia states its forces have occupied three villages in South Ossetia. [Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline” citing “Timeline by 13 August 16:20,” Ministry of Foerign Affairs of Georgia (August 1-13, 2008), www.mfa.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=461&info_id=7347 (accessed August 26, 2008)]

            — At 4:45am Georgian reintegration Minister Yakobashvili states that Tskhinvali is nearly surrounded and that Georgiam forces control two-thirds of South Ossetia. [Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline”]

— In early morning Georgian warplanes bomb Tskhinvali. [Uwe Klussmann, “Georgian Tanks Vs. Ossetian Teenagers,” Der Spiegel, August 26, 2008.]

— At 5:30am the Georgian Foreign Ministry issues its first report that Russian forces are crossing the Georgian border into South Ossetia through the Roki Tunnel. [Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline” citing the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s “Timeline by 13 August 16:20”] After three days, all Georgian official statements and a new official Georgian Foreign Ministry timeline indicate that the crossing began six hours earlier at 11:30pm. [Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline” citing “Timeline of Events in the Russian Invasion and Occupation of Georgia, Georgian Foreign Ministry, August 16, 2008, www.mfa.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=461&info_id=7484 (accessed August 26, 2008)] The official Georgian timeline states: [[At 11:30pm the Government of Georgia receives reliable information from three separate sources that approximately 100 armored vehicles and trucks of the Russian armed forces, filled with Russian soldiers, are passing from Russia over the border of Georgia through the Roki Tunnel and are heading towards Tskhinvali. The Russian Federation is thus directly violating the sovereignty of Georgia, as these new forces are regular Russian military and not peacekeepers.]]

— At 9:00am South Ossetia requests Russia’s military support in the war and reports continued heavy shelling from ‘Grad’ artillery. [Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline” and www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/newstext/news/id/1226778.html]

— At 9:30am Russian president Dmitry Medvedev convenes Russia’s Security Council. [Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline”]

— At 10:51am the UN Security Council rejects a Russian proposal to issue a call for a ceasefire in the Georgian conflict zones. [Petro, “Crisis in the Caucasus: A Unified Timeline” citing “Timeline of Events in the Russian Invasion and Occupation of Georgia.”]

__________________________

* This chronology was originally published as XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Its purpose was to examine which side was responsible for the escalation in tensions that led to the outbreak of the war or whether both the Georgian and Ossetian sides were more or less equally responsible. A focus on the events of August 7-8 is not fully to the point on this score. It is very likely that the August Five Day War was stumbled into or provoked by both sides. Readers can decide for themselves. I begin with a more generalized timeline of events in the years leading up to the crisis months of summer 2008. The main source for this timeline comes from in-time reports the website Kavkaz-uzel (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru). Kavkaz-uzel is a project of the well-known Russian pro-democracy, human rights organization ‘Memorial. It has been highly critical of Russia’s human rights record especially under President Vladimir Putin. Kavkaz-uzel provides sound objective reporting on politics and violence across the Transcaucasus and North Caucasus. Regarding its reporting on South Ossetia it uses both Georgian and Russian as well as opposition-oriented and government-supported news agencies. I also include almost word-for-word material in a chronology from the Georgian Foreign Affairs Ministry for purposes of balance (Timeline from Georgia’s Foreign Ministry, accessed August 28, 2008, http://www.mfa.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=461&info_id=7484p). [[Material from the Georgian timeline appears within double brackets.]] However, it should be noted that the Georgian MID timeline started to be compiled after the war began, comes from one of the interested parties, and covers the events of August alone. Readers will no doubt note that the Georgian timeline contradicts Memorial’s reporting as to who fired first in each case or exchange of fire. Readers can decide which, if any side to believe. The compiler of the present timeline regards it as a good starting point for further investigation, not the endpoint, which will help in posing a host of questions regarding the making of this war to be treated elsewhere.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., is an Analyst at Geostrategic Forecasting Corporation (Chicago), http://www.geostrategicforecasting.com; member of the Executive Advisory Board at the American Institute of Geostrategy (AIGEO) (Los Angeles), http://www.aigeo.org; and Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, San Jose, California.

Dr. Hahn is the author of the forthcoming book from McFarland Publishers Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the ‘New Cold War. Previously, he has authored three well-received books: The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland Publishers, 2014), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), and Russia’s Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction Publishers, 2002). He also has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media.

Dr. Hahn has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. He has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Kennan Institute in Washington DC, and the Hoover Institution. Dr. Hahn also has been a Contributing Analyst for Russia Direct (russia-direct.com) and an Analyst and Consultant for Russia – Other Points of View (San Mateo, California) (www.russiaotherpointsofview.com).

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About Gordon M. Hahn