Conflict continues in the Georgian-Ossetian war zone, in Tbilisi, the evacuation of civilians from strategic areas is proposed, and the President of Georgia is ready to impose martial law throughout the country.
After a calm of several hours in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, firing began again. The commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces reported to our Interfax correspondent that there is furious fighting in the southern outskirts of the city between Russian forces and units of the Georgian regular army. The South Ossetian government confirmed this information. An official representative of the republic, Irina Gagloeva, stated that Tskhinvali is still under the control of the Ossetian armed forces. “At present (22.45 MST, 18.45 GMT, 14.45 EDT), the entire city of Tskhinvali is under the control of the defence forces of the Republic of South Ossetia. Now, the Georgian forces are attempting to break through in the southern suburbs of Tskhinvali. As a result, combat is taking place”, Ms Gagloev stated.
Later, the commander of the mixed peacekeeping force (SSPM) in the Georgian-Ossetian zone, Marat Kulakhmetov, stated that Tskhinvali is virtually all in the hands of the South Ossetian forces. “At present, South Ossetian forces have established control over the largest part of the city, and the Georgian forces control only pockets in the southern outskirts of the city”, he said, adding that the peacekeeping force, despite the casualties it suffered in the current fighting, would carry on and remain at their posts. “We shall not retreat, we shall continue to carry out the tasks that are entrusted to us”, he said.
Furthermore, information from the Georgian media confirmed that fighting had resumed outside the South Ossetian capital, and that units of the South Ossetian forces operating in the forests had ambushed Georgian forces. Furthermore, according to reports from Tbilisi, there was skirmishing near the Georgian city of Gori. It is known that around 22.00 MST (18.00 GMT, 14.00 EDT), a Georgian column of about 20 military lorries left Batum, driving in the direction of South Ossetia. Eyewitnesses told Interfax that there were about 10 soldiers in each vehicle, thus, the total force was about 200 soldiers, accompanied by civil road police. Also, information was received that South Ossetian forces had shot down a Georgian attack aircraft. According to the TV channel Vesti (News), after the aircraft was hit, it caught fire, and crashed in the sight of local observers. A videotape confirmed the downing of the plane. As of now, nothing is known of the fate of the pilot.
Marat Kulakhmetov stated that the situation as of 00.51 MST (20.51 GMT, 16.51 EDT) was relatively calm in the vicinity of Tskhinvali. “For the last two hours, the situation in Tskhinvali has been relatively calm”, he stated to a correspondent of the TV channel Vesti. “At present, both sides are tensely awaiting the resumption of combat. No one hides this fact. The Georgian side is regrouping, whilst the Ossetian side is preparing to repulse another attack”.
Meanwhile, the Georgian TV network Rustavi-2 reported that Russian warplanes struck the port of Poti and a military base in Senaki on Friday evening. Reports on the same TV network, according to high sources in the Georgian government, said that Georgian servicemen had blown up the bridge on the Zarskoi Road connecting the Dzhavsky region with the Rokskim tunnel. Furthermore, other Georgian media report impacts of tactical missiles, according to the Georgian Ministry of Defence, at Vaziani military airfield and at Khoni. According to the same sources, sections of the Tbilisi-Zugdidi main railway line were destroyed, and there were air strikes on the upper part of the Kodor Gorge.
At 01.15 MST (19.15 GMT, 15.15 GMT), the official representative of the South Ossetian government, Irina Gagloeva, reported that all Georgian military units had been driven out of Tskhinvali. “Now, there is an ominous silence above the city, the skirmishes have ceased. The city is entirely cleared of Georgian military units”, she said, after saying that she had no information concerning the situation on the heights around the city. It is true that the government of Georgia denied these reports, state minister Temur Yakobashvili saying that all the Russian reports were lies. “Tskhinvali is completely in the hands of Georgian troops. Moreover, we control all populated areas in South Ossetia except Dzhavy and the Rokskim tunnel”, Mr Yakobashvili said. He also said, “The President of Georgia is constantly ringing up world leaders and is expressing his anxiety over the situation. This is a patriotic war for Georgia, and we shall not yield even one handful of our soil. This is not a conflict over the Tskhinvali region; it is a patriotic war against Russia”.
Later, our Interfax correspondent reported that the positions of the SSPM force were bombarded by mortar fire from Georgian positions; this was confirmed by Russian journalists with the Russian forces, starting at 01.30 MST (19.30 GMT, 15.30 EDT). The fire was so heavy that the journalists had to seek safety in a bunker. Ossetian spokesman Irina Gagloeva confirmed the resumption of bombardment by the Georgian side. “The intensity of the bombardment from all forms of artillery is almost as heavy as yesterday”, she said.
Meanwhile, the commander of the SSPM force, Marat Kulakhmetov, stated to the TV channel Vesti, “At present, Georgian artillery is firing on the residential areas of Tskhinvali. It is being accomplished by heavy artillery. Practically the entire city is coming under fire”. However, later, Mr Kulakhmetov reported that the Georgian bombardment had ended.
Furthermore, it became known that civilians were being evacuated from strategic areas in Tbilisi and that governmental offices were moving out of the city. In certain residential areas of Tbilisi, the entire population is being evacuated, per Georgian media reports. According to very late reports, the secretary of the Georgian National Security Council, Kakha Lomaya, told journalists that President Mikhail Saakashvili plans to introduce martial law. “President Saakashvili shall declare martial law in Georgia. We shall also introduce a curfew”, he stated.
8 August 2008
God grant the victory to our Russian Orthodox host!
My readers should note that one story is being told by a straight-talking Tatar general and another is being told by a slippery Georgian politician. It’s no contest as to whom to believe! A Russian armoured column is on its way to relieve Tskhinvali, and the Georgians shall be driven out in short order. Saakashvili is on his last legs, and his panicky imposition of martial law shows it. Could he be the first American puppet to fall? God willing, the answer shall be YES, emphatically. The USA had best send no troops or aid to Georgia, for it is a “bridge too far”. God willing, the USA shall learn a lesson from this, but, I am not sanguine about that.
God bless the Russian troops in their endeavours, they are standing tall against American hedonism and nihilism. They are standing for all the world in that, and they deserve our prayers and support. God bless the Christ-loving Orthodox host, as the petition in the liturgy says. They are standing for the good of Orthodoxy against the evil of secularism. God preserve you all.