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Ten years from Russia-Georgia War: Georgian Lands Remain Occupied

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, August 8
Ten years have passed since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war, and historic Georgian lands of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) remain occupied.

Russia continues its creeping occupation of the Georgian land, and fundamental human rights are being violated in and near the occupied territories, both Georgian and foreign officials say.

"Russia executed yet another aggression towards Georgia 10 years ago. It was aggression towards the Georgian state. Our citizens were killed, and I wish to express condolences to every family that lost their children, mothers, fathers, brothers, next to kin or friends,” Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated when he visited the Mukhatgverdi cemetery in Tbilisi on August 7.

“Unfortunately, 20 percent of Georgian territory is still occupied, and our citizens cannot go back to their original dwellings. Building a strong state, irrevocable integration with Europe, the establishment of a strong society and competitive economy is our clear response to this,” the PM said.

Georgia received Foreign Ministers of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Vice PM of Ukraine on the day.

A roundtable discussion was held about the war, and it was advised to Georgia to develop further to become attractive for the people in the occupied territories.

Dozens of country’s sent or posted their letters for the day, condemning the Russian occupation of Georgian territories.

The EU made a special statement on the day.

“Unfortunately, the Russian military presence in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia continues in violation of international law and commitments undertaken by Russia under the 12 August 2008 agreement, mediated by the European Union,” the EU statement reads.

The EU highlighted the importance of the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev claims that in 2008, Russia did not intend to destroy Georgia or to punish former president Mikheil Saakashvili.

Medvedev told the Kommersant that the Russian approach “calmed the situation not only in Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but gave Russia possibility of having a peaceful relationship with the EU and other countries."

"The conclusion was that Georgia started aggression. This cannot be erased from history,“ Dmitry Medvedev said.

The Russia-Georgia 2008 War was the war between Georgia, Russia and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Consequences of Russian aggression in 2008 are as follows:

Human loss: 412 killed on the Georgian side – including 170 military servicemen, 14 police officers, and 228 civilians.

1,747 wounded on the Georgian side – including 973 soldiers, 227 police officers, and 547 civilians.

Three journalists killed, six journalists wounded.

130, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) – out of which 26,000 are still denied the right of return. [Overall, the number of IDPs from both occupied regions is now close to half a million].

35,000 houses burned, ruined and destroyed.

125 more villages have been occupied since the August 2008 war.