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Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Timeline Aug 12 + Report: Medvedev orders end to Georgia battles
Timeline Aug 12 + Report: Medvedev orders end to Georgia battles PDF Print E-mail
Written by AP, Stratfor, Russia Today   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Georgians run for safety after a Russian rocket hit a Georgian troop convoy just outside Gori on Monday.Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP-Getty Images
Georgians run for safety after a Russian rocket hit a Georgian troop convoy just outside Gori on Monday.Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP-Getty Images

Russian president says military will defend itself but halts operations

BREAKING NEWS
MSNBC News Services
updated 5:18 a.m. ET, Tues., Aug. 12, 2008
TBLISI, Georgia - Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered an end to the military operation in Georgia on Tuesday, the Kremlin said.

Medvedev said the military has punished Georgia and restored security for civilians and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia.

But he ordered the military Tuesday to defend itself and quash any aggressive action and armed resistance from Georgian forces.

"I have taken the decision to bring to an end the operation to force the Georgian authorities to peace," Medvedev told Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, according to a Kremlin spokesman.

Earlier, Russia's foreign minister said that Georgia's president must leave office and Georgian troops should stay out of the breakaway South Ossetia region for good.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow won't talk to President Mikhail Saakashvili andthat Saakashvili had "better go."

Both statements came as French President Nicolas Sarkozy headed to Moscow Tuesday to negotiate an EU-brokered truce for the fierce conflict over the breakaway region.

Sarkozy was aiming to win Kremlin backing for a joint European Union-OSCE ceasefire plan which Georgia says it has already accepted.

Town bombed
The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) told Reuters earlier on Tuesday morning he was "carefully optimistic" Russia would agree to the plan.

In Georgia, Russian warplanes bombed the town of Gori on Tuesday, killing at least five people, a Reuters correspondent said. There were isolated skirmishes along the front line but no major offensives by either side overnight.

Close U.S. ally Georgia entered a conflict with Russia last week after launching an offensive to retake the pro-Russian region of South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgian rule in 1992. Moscow responded with a huge counter-offensive.

On Monday, Russian tanks roared deep into Georgia, launching a new western front in the conflict, and Russian planes staged air raids that sent people screaming and fleeing for cover in some towns.

'Brutal escalation'
The escalating warfare brought sharp words from President Bush, who pressed Moscow to accept an immediate cease-fire and pull its troops out to avert a “dramatic and brutal escalation” of violence in the former Soviet republic.

Russian forces for the first time moved well outside the two restive, pro-Russian provinces claimed by Georgia that lie at the heart of the dispute. An Associated Press reporter saw Russian troops in control of government buildings in this town just miles from the frontier and Russian troops were reported in nearby Senaki.

Georgia’s president said his country had been sliced in half with the capture of a critical highway crossroads near the central city of Gori, and Russian warplanes launched new air raids across the country.

The Russian Defense Ministry, through news agencies, denied it had captured Gori and also denied any intentions to advance on the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

The western assault expanded the days-old war beyond the central breakaway region of South Ossetia, where a crackdown by Georgia last week drew a military response from Russia.

While most Georgian forces were still busy fighting there, Russian troops opened the western attack by invading from a second separatist province, Abkhazia, that occupies Georgia’s coastal northwest arm.

'A full military invasion'
Russian forces moved into Senaki, 20 miles inland from the Black Sea, and seized police stations in Zugdidi, just outside the southern fringe of Abkhazia. Abkhazian allies took control of the nearby village of Kurga, according to witnesses and Georgian officials.

U.N. officials B. Lynn Pascoe and Edmond Mulet in New York, speaking at an emergency Security Council meeting asked for by Georgia, also confirmed that Russian troops have driven well beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia, U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity because it was a closed session. They said Russian airborne troops were not meeting any resistance while taking control of Georgia’s Senaki army base.

“A full military invasion of Georgia is going on,” Georgian Ambassador Irakli Alasania told reporters later. “Now I think Security Council has to act.”

France also circulated a draft resolution calling for the “cessation of hostilities, and the complete withdrawal of Russian and Georgian forces” to prior positions. The council is expected to take up the draft proposal Tuesday.

Saakashvili told CNN late Monday that Russian forces were cleansing Abkhazia of ethnic Georgians.

“I directly accuse Russia of ethnic cleansing,” he said. At the U.N. on Friday, each side accused the other of ethnic cleansing.

By late Monday, Russian news agencies, citing the Defense Ministry, said troops had left Senaki “after liquidating the danger,” but did not give details.

Early Tuesday, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that separatist troops in Abkhazia started an operation to push Georgian forces out of the northern Kodori Gorge, the only area of Abkhazia still under Georgian control. Interfax reported that Abkhazia defense headquarters said the offensive began about 2 a.m.

Russia makes contradictory claims
The new Russian assault came despite a claim earlier in the day by a top Russian general that Russia had no plans to enter undisputed Georgian territory.

Saakashvili earlier told a national security meeting Russia had also taken central Gori, which its on Georgia’s only east-west highway, cutting off the eastern half of the nation from the western Black Sea coast.

But the news agency Interfax cited a Russian Defense Ministry official as denying Gori was captured. Attempts to reach Gori residents by telephone late Monday did not go through.

Fighting also raged Monday around Tskhinvali, the capital of the separatist province of South Ossetia.

'This is for NATO'
Even as Saakashvili signed a cease-fire pledge Monday with European mediators, Russia flexed its military muscle and appeared determined to subdue the small U.S. ally, which has been pressing for NATO membership.

“The bombs that are falling on us, they have an inscription on them: This is for NATO. This is for the U.S.,” Saakashvili told CNN.

Russia’s massive and multi-pronged offensive has drawn wide criticism from the West, but Russia has rejected calls for a cease-fire and said it was acted to protect its citizens. Most residents of the separatist regions have Russian passports.

In Zugdidi, an AP reporter saw five or six Russian soldiers posted outside an Interior Ministry building. Several tanks and other armored vehicles were moving through the town but the streets were nearly deserted. Shops, restaurants and banks were shut down.

Georgia borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia and was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Both provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990, and both have close ties with Moscow.

Russian response swift
When Georgia began its offensive to regain control over South Ossetia, the Russian response was swift and overpowering — thousands of troops and tanks poured in.

Georgia had pledged a cease-fire, but it rang hollow Monday. An AP reporter saw a small group of Georgian fighters open fire on a column of Russian and Ossetian military vehicles outside Tskhinvali, triggering a 30-minute battle. The Russians later said all the Georgians were killed.

Another AP reporter was in the village of Tkviavi, 7½ miles south of Tskhinvali inside undisputed Georgian territory, when a bomb from a Russian warplane struck a house. The walls of neighboring buildings fell as screaming residents ran for cover. Eighteen people were wounded.

Hundreds of Georgian troops headed north Monday along the road toward Tskhinvali, pocked with tank regiments creeping up the highway into South Ossetia. Hundreds of other soldiers traveled in trucks in the opposite direction, towing light artillery weapons.

In a statement in the Rose Garden, Bush said there was an apparent attempt by Russia to unseat the pro-Western Saakashvili. He said further Russian action would conflict with Russian assurance its actions were meant to restore peace in the pro-Russian separatist areas.

Georgian oil sites targeted
Bush and other Western leaders have also complained that Russian warplanes — buzzing over Georgia since Friday — have bombed Georgian oil sites and factories far from the conflict zone.

The world’s seven largest economic powers urged Russia to accept an immediate cease-fire agree to international mediation. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations spoke by telephone and pledged their support for a negotiated solution to the conflict.

“I’ve expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn the bombing outside of South Ossetia,” Bush told NBC Sports.

Putin criticized the United States for viewing Georgia as the victim instead of the aggressor, and for airlifting Georgian troops back home from Iraq on Sunday.

“Of course, Saddam Hussein ought to have been hanged for destroying several Shiite villages,” Putin said in Moscow. “And the incumbent Georgian leaders who razed 10 Ossetian villages at once, who ran elderly people and children with tanks, who burned civilian alive in their sheds — these leaders must be taken under protection.”

Sarkozy to meet with both sides
The U.S. military was informing Russia about the flights from Iraq to avoid mishaps, one military official said Monday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the subject on the record.

A Defense Department spokesman said the U.S. expected to have all Georgian troops out of Iraq by day’s end.

Pentagon officials said Monday that U.S. military was assessing the fighting every day to determine whether to pull the fewer than 100 remaining American trainers out of the country.

Saakashvili’s cease-fire pledge had been proposed by the French and Finnish foreign ministers.

Saakashvili voiced concern Russia’s true goal was to undermine his pro-Western government. “It’s all about the independence and democracy of Georgia,” he said.

The Georgian president said Russia had sent 20,000 troops and 500 tanks into Georgia. He said Russian warplanes were bombing roads and bridges, destroying radar systems and targeting Tbilisi’s civilian airport. One Russian bombing raid struck the Tbilisi airport area only a half-hour before EU envoys arrived, he said.

Another hit near key Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which carries Caspian crude to the West. No supply interruptions have been reported.

'Where is our land?'
At least 9,000 Russian troops and 350 armored vehicles were in Abkhazia, according to a Russian military commander.

Abkhazia’s separatists declared Sunday they would push Georgian forces out of the northern part of the Kodori Gorge, the only area of Abkhazia still under Georgian control.

Before invading western Georgia, Russia’s deputy chief of General Staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn demanded Monday that Georgia disarm its police in Zugdidi, a town just outside Abkhazia. Still he insisted “We are not planning any offensive.”

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said more than 2,000 people have been killed in South Ossetia since Friday, most of them Ossetians with Russian passports. The figures could not be independently confirmed, but refugees who fled Tskhinvali over the weekend said hundreds had been killed.

Many found shelter in the Russian province of North Ossetia.

“The Georgians burned all of our homes,” said one elderly woman, as she sat on a bench under a tree with three other white-haired survivors. “The Georgians say it is their land. Where is our land, then?”


The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26116598/

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Georgia, Russia: Operations Over?

Amid conflicting statements coming out of Russia in the early afternoon of Aug. 12, signs are suggesting that the Russian-Georgian conflict of the past several days is coming to a close.

Interfax reported that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered an end to operations in the Georgian separatist enclave of South Ossetia, saying that mission there was complete. The statement came after Medvedev met with Russian Defense Minister Anatoli Serdyukov, and just before he entered into a meeting with French President (and current holder of the rotating EU Presidency) Nicolas Sarkozy, who himself had just left a meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. Medvedev also said that he has decided to find a way to create peace, though Russian troops were to continue stamping out pockets of resistance in Georgia proper.

The Kremlin then issued a statement alongside Medvedev’s, saying Medvedev had ordered an end to operations throughout Georgia, not just in South Ossetia.

Stratfor has been looking at Aug. 12 as a day on which we might learn how much further actions between Georgia and Russia would go. Despite the somewhat mixed messages, the statements come on a day when the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, is abuzz with rumors that the Russians could possibly push forward to take the city. More importantly, the diplomatic front is hot with meetings on all sides.

Thus far we have not seen an actual advance on the ground of Russian troops into the capital, though there has been a great deal of diplomatic chatter between the countries — France, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania and others — most concerned by the prospect of a strong Russia. Russia has made its point that it not only is a significant power once again, but also dominates the path for its peripheral countries. It remains to be seen whether Russia intends this halt in operations to be temporary; most likely that depends on the meetings that Medvedev is currently attending.

Stratfor 

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Georgia: A Timeline of Events Aug. 12
Stratfor Today » August 11, 2008 | 2056 GMT

Georgia: A Timeline of Events Aug. 12
10:31 p.m.:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrives in Tbilisi, Georgia, with a plan for resolving the Russia-Georgia conflict that he agreed on with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, RIA Novosti reports. Sarkozy is sent to meet with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at Rustaveli Avenue, where a rally for Georgin unity is under way.
9:19 p.m.: Shots are heard on the outskirts of Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, following the start of a cease-fire, RIA Novosti reports. No shots from heavy arms are heard, but there reportedly are single shots and “short bursts” of fire. South Ossetia’s President Eduard Kokoity says that Georgia is responsible for this, trying to “trigger retaliatory actions of Russian troops, to provoke them and show their Western supporters that Russia is allegedly not keeping its promises” of a cease-fire.
8:54 p.m.: South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity says a large amount of weapons has been stolen from South Ossetian Defense Ministry warehouses in South Ossetia during military operations, Interfax reports. Kokoity says there are indications of attempts to move the weapons toward North Ossetia.
8:45 p.m.: The U.S. State Department on Aug. 12 has advised all U.S. citizens to leave Georgia, Reuters reported. U.S. officials have not been able to confirm that Russia has stopped military action in Georgia.
7:56 p.m.: Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Turchinov says that Ukraine’s government has not discussed a Georgian proposal that Ukraine withdraw from the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States, Gazeta reports. Turchinov says Ukraine’s first priority is to see calm restored in the Caucasus, adding that “we believe that Georgia is a sovereign state, and that the world community must help to protect its territory.”
7:30 p.m.: French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the European Union is considering sending a peacekeeping force to Abkhazia and South Ossetia if all parties agree to the deployment. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said he will not withdraw the Russian peacekeepers currently operating there.
7:30 p.m.: The main condition for the settlement of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict is that Georgian troops return to their barracks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says, according to Interfax. Lavrov tells journalists in Moscow that Georgian armed forces must not only leave South Ossetian territory, they must also leave the parts of Georgia from which they can bomb South Ossetia.
7:28 p.m.: Georgia asks NATO to provide military assistance to replace its radar systems destroyed in Russian attacks, RIA Novosti reports, citing a report by Agence France-Presse.
7:21 p.m.: Estonia’s legislature adopts a statement on the situation in Georgia at an extraordinary meeting held Aug. 12, according to Interfax. The statement strongly criticizes Russia’s actions in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia and calls for an “immediate cessation of military activities” and assurances for Georgia’s territorial integrity. Parliament members also suggest that NATO expedite Georgia’s membership process.
7:16 p.m.: Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Gegham Gharibjanyan says Armenia does not plan to withdraw from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), responding to the statement by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili that Georgia has withdrawn from CIS and that other countries should quit the CIS, Interfax reports.
7:07 p.m.: Georgia’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will not affect the air defense of Russia or the CIS, RIA Novosti reports, citing Russian Lt. Gen. Oleg Balayan. Balayan says Russia regrets that Georgia has withdrawn from the CIS because it would be better for Russia “to have more forces merged into a common air defense system to combat potential aggression.” He says that Russia and its CIS allies “have sufficient weapons to punish any aggressor.”
6:27 p.m.: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy hold a joint press conference at which they announce six principles of conflict resolution to guide the “road to normalcy” in Georgia, Gazeta reports. The principles are: not resorting to the use of force, definitively ceasing hostilities, allowing access to humanitarian aid, returning Georgian forces to their bases, returning Russian forces to their positions before the conflict, and beginning an international debate on the status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
6 p.m.
5:30 p.m.:
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says that NATO’s offer to Georgia of eventual membership remains on the table.
5:07 p.m.: Some Georgian troops are continuing to fire periodically at Russian forces in the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia despite a cease-fire, a spokesman for Russian peacekeeping forces in South Ossetia says.
4:34 p.m.: RIA Novosti reports that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has withdrawn his country from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), annulled an agreement on a peacekeeping operation in Abkhazia and declared Abkhazia and South Ossetia occupied territories. Saakashvili urges Ukraine and other countries to leave the CIS, “where Russia plays a dominant role.”
3:22 p.m.: Energy firm BP says it has no information about an alleged Russian bombing of a pipeline in Georgia that ships BP’s oil, and that its facilities are intact, Reuters reports, citing an unnamed BP official.
3:12 p.m.: Interfax reports that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has expressed satisfaction with the talks between Moscow and the European Union “in the search for the efficient solution in the interests of providing long-term stability and safety in the region of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict.”

3:05 p.m.: Even though Russia has declared an end to military operations in Georgia, this does not mean military hostilities will not continue there, Interfax reports. Georgian Interior Minister Temur Yakobashvili requests that Georgians try to avoid contact with Russian soldiers.
3 p.m.
2:57 p.m.:
Interfax reports that Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh has said most of the Kodori Gorge has been “freed, including the village that was the seat of the pro-Georgian government.” Bagapsh notes that Abkhaz forces still have to remove Georgian troops from two mountainous areas — Omarishara and Saken — and that his troops will not go beyond the Abkhaz-Georgian border.
2:46 p.m.: Georgian Interior Minister Temur Yukobashvili says Georgian troops are not going to leave the Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia, Interfax reports. The troops have repelled seven attacks in the gorge and will remain there to “battle until the end,” Yukobashvili says. Georgia has evacuated almost all civilians from the gorge area. Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh says that all Georgian troops will likely be pushed from the upper part of the gorge by the end of the day.
2:35 p.m.: French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the international community wants to ensure the sovereignty, territorial integrity and safety of Georgia, Interfax reports. Sarkozy adds that it is “completely normal” for Russia to want to defend its compatriots and Russian-speaking people outside Russia.
2:25.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rules out negotiations with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, saying he can no longer be considered a partner, RIA Novosti reports. Lavrov says the best thing for Saakashvili to do is resign, but that Russia has no plans to force him from power. Georgia also must not have a peacekeeping presence in South Ossetia, Lavrov adds, citing the severity of Georgian troops’ actions there.
2:11 p.m.: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says Russia is ready to discuss a final solution to its conflict with Georgia as long as two conditions are guaranteed, Interfax reports. The first condition is that all Georgian troops are returned to their starting points and partially demilitarized, and the second is that a document prohibiting the use of force is signed. Medvedev makes the statements while meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
2:10 p.m.: Reuters reports that several blasts shook the town of Gori, killing at least five civilians and injuring several others. A journalist is said to be among the dead. Deputy Chief of Russia’s General Staff Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn denies that Russian forces attacked the town. A study of television footage from Gori shows that the blasts probably were from mortar fire and not from bombs dropped by aircraft as witnesses originally thought.
2:06 p.m.: Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has said Georgian troops must withdraw to their pre-hostility positions and be partially demilitarized, Reuters reports.
2:06 p.m.: Russia’s General Staff denies claims from Georgia that Russian planes bombed the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Interfax reports.
2:05 p.m.: RIA Novosti reports that Russia has deployed additional coast guard vessels to protect the coastline near its Black Sea resort of Sochi and that Russia’s border patrol is using unmanned aerial vehicles, monitoring equipment and other aircraft to keep track of the situation in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
1:55 p.m.: NATO will hold a special session to consider Georgia’s request for military aid, Interfax reports.
1:50 p.m.: Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli says Georgia needs to see “more evidence” of a halt to Russian military operations in the country, Reuters reports.
1:33 p.m.: Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili called off a meeting with NATO ambassadors slated for Aug. 12 in Brussels, Reuters reports. Georgia’s ambassador in Brussels will attend the meeting, according to an embassy spokesman. NATO is also considering a meeting with Russian diplomats, a NATO spokeswoman said. Tkeshelashvili said she was withdrawing from the planned meeting moments before Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said he ordered a halt to Russia’s operations in Georgia because his country’s goals were achieved.
1:29 p.m.: The Russian general staff says Russian forces will continue carrying out reconnaissance in Georgia following the call for a cease-fire, Interfax reports.
12:55 p.m.: Interfax reports that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has ordered an end to Russian military operations South Ossetia, saying that mission is complete. At a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Anatoli Serdyukov, Medvedev says that the goal now is to find a way to create peace. He also orders Russian troops to continue stamping out pockets of resistance in Georgia proper.
12:53 p.m.: The Kremlin issues a statement confirming a decision by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to end Russian military operations throughout Georgia.

12:10 p.m.: Speaking after talks with his Finnish counterpart Alexander Stubbom, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia will change its approach to negotiating a resolution on the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts to fit the situation, Interfax reports. Russia has no confidence in the current Georgian leadership, he says.
12:17 p.m.: The Russian coast guard is massing near the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, just north of Abkhazia, RIA Novosti reports.
12:01 p.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia is open to proposals from the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on a cease-fire in Georgia.
Noon
11:53 a.m.: Abkhaz soldiers raise the Abkhaz flag in the Kodori Gorge after taking control of the upper part of the gorge from Georgian forces, Interfax reports.
11:33 a.m.: Interfax reports that Georgian forces in Abkhazia’s Kodori Gorge have come under fire from Abkhaz helicopters.
11:30 a.m.: The Russian government sends extra security personnel to the Moscow embassies of countries allied with Georgia, Interfax reports.
11:17 a.m.: Abkhazia says the Georgian troops in the Kodori Gorge are surrounded, Interfax reports.  
10:33 a.m.: The Georgian leadership has no information indicating that Russian troops will try to take Tbilisi, Interfax reports.
10:25 a.m.: The Georgian Defense Ministry has said that Russian troops are approaching Tbilisi, Interfax reports.
10:19 a.m.: All employees of the Ukrainian Embassy in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi are being evacuated, Interfax reports.
10:10 a.m.: Georgian military commanders do not have a clear picture of what is going on in the current conflict because Russia destroyed Georgia’s radars and military communication facilities, RIA Novosti reports. Representatives of the Georgian government have said the country’s media are issuing contradictory reports, especially on Russian troop movements.
10:10 a.m.: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told the Council of National Security that Georgian tanks are headed to the city of Gori, RIA Novosti reports.
9:46 a.m.: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is awaiting the arrival of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Polish President Lech Kaczynski, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Estonian President Hendrik Ilves, Interfax reports. In the morning of Aug. 12, before their arrival, Saakashvili will hold an emergency meeting of parliament. The meeting will be at an undisclosed location but will be partially televised for the nation to see.
8:03 a.m.: Interfax reports that South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity warned the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is trying to use them to “continue his aggressive policy.”
6:24 a.m.: South Ossetia’s State Committee of Information and Press reports that though some minor shelling is coming from outside of South Ossetia, the country is considered “clean” of Georgians, South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity said.
6 a.m.: The Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia launches a military operation to force Georgian troops out of the Kodori Gorge, according to Interfax.
5:53 a.m.: The government of the secessionist Georgian region of Abkhazia plans to push Georgian forces from the Kodori Gorge in a few days, Interfax reports.
1:37 a.m.: U.S. President George W. Bush, calling Russia’s action against Georgia unacceptable and an invasion of a sovereign state, says that “there is evidence that Russian forces may soon begin bombing the civilian airport in the capital city” of Tbilisi, Reuters reports. Bush says that if Russia does bomb Tbilisi’s airport, it would “represent a dramatic and brutal escalation of the conflict in Georgia.”
1:24 a.m.: U.S. President George W. Bush, in a live television broadcast, says that it is time for Russia to end the crisis in Georgia.
1:06 a.m.: Georgia National Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaya said Aug. 12 in a briefing that there is no fighting currently taking place on Georgian Territory, Interfax reported.
12: 52 a.m.: Russian peacekeeping units have not taken the Georgian port city of Poti, a Defense Ministry representative said Aug. 11, RIA Novosti reported.
12:40 a.m.: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili appeals to the people of Georgia to come to the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi to demonstrate the unity of the nation, RIA Novosti reports.
12:33 a.m.: Russia will send $200 million in urgent aid to South Ossetia to address a growing humanitarian disaster in the Georgian breakaway province, RIA Novosti reports, citing Russia’s envoy to NATO.
12:31 a.m.: Georgian Prime Minister Vladimir Gurgenidze says Russian troops have entered the Georgian Black Sea port of Poti, Gazeta reports.
11:53 p.m.: The presidents of Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia are expected to travel to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Interfax reports.
11:27 p.m.: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reportedly tells a Ukrainian official that Russia Black Sea Fleet ships were off the coast of Abkhazia to protect Russians and support the peacekeepers, RIA Novosti reported Aug. 11. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stated that it reserves the right to not allow the Russian Black Sea Fleet ships back into the Sevastopol naval base. The Black Sea Fleet ships are now off the coast of Georgia, and Kiev does not want to be involved in military conflicts, the Ukrainian official said.

Stratfor

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The Georgian war minute by minute - August 12
8:54 GMT Russian President Dmitry Medvedev decides to end military operation in Georgia.
 
08:37 Finland's foreign minister says that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is not interested in blaming sides in the Georgian-Russian conflict, and only wants an end to violence.

08:22 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, in Moscow on Tuesday, to discuss the situation in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

08:00 GMT Russia will have to review its approach towards negotiations on the situation in Georgia, as the leadership in Tbilisi cannot be trusted, according to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

07:32 GMT Russian special services arrest a senior Georgian foreign intelligence officer. It says he was gathering intelligence on Russia’s military in the North Caucasus and following the movements of the South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity. According to the FSB he is the deputy director of the Georgian Foreign Intelligence Service.

02:01 GMT Abkhazian troops have begun an operation to pull the Georgian military out of the upper part of the Kodori Gorge.

01:46 GMT Russia has rejected a draft resolution on Georgia-South Ossetia conflict, introduced by France at the UN Security Council meeting.

http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/28860 

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Bush: Russia 'invaded' Georgia, must back off
'Unacceptable' that it 'invaded a sovereign neighboring state,' he says
The Associated Press
updated 9:40 p.m. ET, Mon., Aug. 11, 2008
WASHINGTON - President Bush on Monday demanded that Russia end a "dramatic and brutal escalation" of violence in Georgia, agree to an immediate cease-fire and accept international mediation to end the crisis in the former Soviet republic.

Almost immediately after his return from the Olympics in China, Bush warned Russia in his strongest comments since the fighting erupted over Georgia's separatist South Ossetia region last week to "reverse the course it appears to be on" and abandon any attempt it may have to topple Georgia's pro-western government.

"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century," the president said in a televised statement from the White House, calling on Moscow to sign on to the outlines of a cease-fire as the Georgian government has done.

"The Russian government must reverse the course it appears to be on and accept this peace agreement as a first step toward solving this conflict," Bush said, adding that he is deeply concerned that Russia, which Georgian officials say has effectively split their country in two, might bomb the civilian airport in the capital of Tbilisi.

'Unpleasant precedents'
He said Russia's escalation of the conflict had "raised serious questions about its intentions in Georgia and the region" and had "substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world." "These actions jeopardize Russia's relations with the United States and Europe," Bush said. "It's time for Russia to be true to its word to act to end this crisis."

A senior U.S. official said the United States and its allies suspected Russia had been planning an invasion for some time and deliberately instigated the conflict through attacks on Georgian villages by pro-Russian forces in South Ossetia despite outwardly appealing for calm and promising to rein in the separatists.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal Bush administration deliberations, said there were numerous "unpleasant precedents" for the current situation, including the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslavkia.

Despite the tough talk in Washington, there was no specific threat of any consequences Russia might face if it ignores the warnings. American officials said they were working with U.S. allies in Europe and elsewhere, as well as with the Russians, to defuse the crisis.

Earlier Monday, the United States and the world's six other largest economic powers issued a call similar to Bush's for Russia to accept a truce and agree to mediation as conditions deteriorated and Russian troops continued their advances into Georgian territory.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations pledged their support for a negotiated solution to the conflict that has been raging since Friday, the State Department said.

"We want to see the Russians stand down," deputy spokesman Robert Wood told reporters. "What we're calling on is for Russia to stop its aggression."

Concern for civilian casualties
Rice and the foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan spoke in a conference call, during which they noted that Georgia had agreed to a cease-fire and wanted to see Russia sign on immediately, he said, adding that the call was one of more than 90 that Rice has made on the matter since Friday.

They called on Russia to respect Georgia's borders and expressed deep concern for civilian casualties that have occurred and noted that Georgia had agreed to a cease-fire and said the ministers wanted to see Russia sign on immediately as urgent consultations at the United Nations and NATO were expected, according to Wood.

The seven ministers backed a nascent mediation efforts led by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, whose country now holds the chair of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, he said.

The Group of Seven, or G7, is often expanded into what is known as the G8, a grouping that includes Russia, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was notably not included in the call.

Wood said the United States was hopeful that the U.N. Security Council would pass a "strong" resolution on the fighting that called for an end to attacks on both sides as well as mediation, but prospects for such a statement were dim given that Russia wields veto power on the 15-member body.

A senior U.S. diplomat, Matthew Bryza, is now in Tbilisi and is working with Georgian and European officials there on ways to calm the situation.

Americans evacuated from Georgia
Meanwhile, the State Department said it has evacuated more than 170 American citizens from Georgia. Wood said two convoys carrying the Americans, along with family members of U.S. diplomats based in Georgia, left Tbilisi on Sunday and Monday for neighboring Armenia.

The U.S. Embassy in Georgia has distributed an initial contribution of $250,000 in humanitarian relief to victims of the fighting and is providing emergency equipment to people in need, although those supplies would run out later Monday, the department said.

The Pentagon said it had finished flying some 2,000 Georgian troops back home from Iraq on C-17 aircraft at Georgia's request.

It said it had informed the Russians about the flights before they began in order to avoid any mishaps, but Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin harshly criticized the step, saying it would hamper efforts to resolve the situation by reinforcing Georgian assets in a "conflict zone."

Wood rejected the criticism, saying: "We're not assisting in any conflict."

Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said the U.S. flew the Georgians out of Iraq as part of a prior agreement that transport would be provided in case of an emergency.

Pentagon officials said Monday that U.S. military was assessing the fighting every day to determine whether less than 100 U.S. trainers should be pulled out of the country.

There had been about 130 trainers, including a few dozen civilian contractors, but the civilians had been scheduled to rotate out of the country and did so over the weekend, Whitman said. The remaining uniformed trainers were moved over the weekend to what officials believe is a safer location, he said.


Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26142758/

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The Georgian war minute by minute - August 12
21:11 GMT - Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has accepted the terms for a ceasefire in South Ossetia which were put forward by Russia and France.
 
19:18 GMT – The leader of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity has welcomed the peace plan proposed by the Russian and French presidents in Moscow on Tuesday.

19:12 GMT – French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili are holding talks in Tbilisi.

19:01 GMT – Georgian government confirms the withdrawal of its troops from the upper part of the Kodori Gorge.

18:10  GMT - Moscow is concerned over Kiev's ‘biased and one-sided position’ on Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its official website.

17:40 GMT - The restoration of the Capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, will take at least  two  years, said Russian Emergencies Minister Sergey Shoigu.

17:22 GMT - French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Tbilisi to meet with Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili.

17:01 GMT – British Prime Minister Brown praised South Ossetian peace plan revealed in Moscow.

16:37 GMT – Russia declares a period of mourning for war victims.

16:31 GMT – Georgian troops have been forced out of Kodori gorge, according to Abkhazian Deputy Defence Minister.

15:59 GMT – Detailed battle plan discovered in a Georgian staff vehicle sheds light on Tbilisi’s plans for South Ossetia, says Russian military official.

15:55 GMT – Some NATO members suggest reconsidering relations with Russia, according to the U.S. envoy to the alliance.

15:49 GMT – Pentagon announces U.S. has finished transporting Georgian soldiers from Iraq to Georgia.

15:46 GMT – Georgia to announce three day period of mourning, starting August 12, says Saakashvili.

15:32 GMT – Russia is not keeping any peace in Georgia, says U.S. Deputy State Secretary Matthew Bryza.

15:29 GMT – Georgian envoy to NATO has asked for military hardware to be supplied by alliance members.

14:52 GMT – EU is ready to take part in peacekeeping missions in the Caucasus, says French President Sarkozy.

14:42 GMT – Russia will call for an international discussion of war crimes in South Ossetia, says Medvedev.

14:11 GMT – The situation in South Ossetia won’t affect Georgia’s prospects of joining NATO, says de Hoop Scheffer.

 
13:44 GMT – NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer welcomes news of Russia ending military operation in Georgia.

13:28 GMT – Saakashvili says he has personally seen Russian troops shelling Tskhinvali.

13:13 GMT – Saakashvili says Georgia is revoking peacekeeping agreements with Russia and Abkhazia.

13:00 GMT – American embassy in Tbilisi confirms to Interfax that a U.S. citizen was wounded in the South Ossetian combat zone.

12:54 GMT – Russian peacekeepers report being sporadically shot at by Georgian troops.

12:45 GMT – Georgian reports claiming that the Russian military is continuing to attack are provocations, says the Russian Defence Ministry.

12:35 GMT – President Saakashvili announces that Georgia is to quit the Commonwealth of Independent States and calls on other members to follow.

11:41 GMT – Tskhinvali mayor says 70 percent of the city’s buildings were destroyed during the conflict.

11:29 GMT – Russia’s military operation in South Ossetia was partially caused by tension over Kosovo and the U.S. anti-missile system in Europe, according to the Belgian Foreign Minister.

10:35 GMT – Georgia's Foreign Minister won’t take part in a NATO meeting in Brussels, reports the France Press agency.

10:22 GMT – Russia’s announcement about the end of the military operation in South Ossetia "is good news", says French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

10:02 GMT – "Tskhinvali and Sukhumi are our Jerusalem, and we won’t wait for 2,000 years to reclaim them," says the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament.

09:44 GMT – The Russian military denies bombing a Georgian oil pipeline.

09:35 GMT – Russia will partially withdraw its troops from South Ossetia after ceasefire is established, says a military official.

09:22 GMT – A Russian military spokesman says the country will cooperate with the U.S. and NATO, despite Western support of Georgia.

09:05 GMT – A Russian military official says that its troops in South Ossetia have been ordered to stop advancing.

8:54 GMT Russian President Dmitry Medvedev decides to end military operation in Georgia.

08:37 Finland's foreign minister says that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is not interested in blaming sides in the Georgian-Russian conflict, and only wants an end to violence.

08:34 GMT – U.S. blocks Russia-NATO Council meeting, according to the Russian envoy to the alliance.

08:22 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, in Moscow on Tuesday, to discuss the situation in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia.

08:00 GMT Russia will have to review its approach towards negotiations on the situation in Georgia, as the leadership in Tbilisi cannot be trusted, according to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

07:32 GMT Russian special services arrest a senior Georgian foreign intelligence officer. It says he was gathering intelligence on Russia’s military in the North Caucasus and following the movements of the South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity. According to the FSB he is the deputy director of the Georgian Foreign Intelligence Service.

02:01 GMT Abkhazian troops have begun an operation to pull the Georgian military out of the upper part of the Kodori Gorge.

01:46 GMT Russia has rejected a draft resolution on Georgia-South Ossetia conflict, introduced by France at the UN Security Council meeting.

http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/28860

 



Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 August 2008 )
 
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