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2008 Russo-Georgian War Recap: August 16
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Aug.'17 / 18:27

Nine years have passed since the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008. Civil.ge uses its archives and other sources to provide a daily recap of the events of the war. We start on August 1, 2008, amid the final stage of pre-war escalation, and will continue up to the occupation of Akhalgori Municipality by the Russian troops on August 16.

August 16

  • At 10:30 Russian air force firebombs a forest near village Khandaki, Kaspi Municipality, setting it on fire.
      
  • At 12:30 Russian troops blow up a railway bridge near village Grakali, Kaspi Municipality.
      
  • At 16:00 Russia denies permission to the Turkish and Ukrainian planes to enter Georgian airspace in order to take part in putting down the forest fires in Borjomi Municipality, which had been caused by a Russian bombing.
      
  • Russian forces are digging in at their positions across central Georgia.
      
  • By 18:00 Russian troops with tanks and armored vehicles enter the town of Akhalgori - the center of Akhalgori Municipality - about 40 kilometers north-west of Tbilisi.
      
  • At 18:30 Russian air force firebombs the forests around Surami, Khashuri Municipality.
      
  • U.S. President George W. Bush says South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia and “there’s no room for debate on this matter.”
      
  • Russian troops reportedly start offering Russian passports to the local population in Akhalgori Municipality.

      
    The Aftermath
  • During the period following the war, Russian troops continued to maintain their positions and move around the central regions of Georgia, while the Georgian forces were concentrated in the area north of Tbilisi. Akhalgori Municipality, which had remained under Tbilisi’s control ever since the Georgian independence in 1991, was occupied by the Russian forces. So was Kodori Valley – the only part of Abkhazia still under the Georgian government’s control after the war of 1992-1993. Georgian villages around Tskhinvali town were ethnically cleansed of their Georgian population, with the houses being systematically and thoroughly destroyed to eliminate the possibility of any local residents coming back to their homes.
      
  • On August 17, members of the Russian-backed Tskhinvali militias followed the Russian troops into Akhalgori Municipality, while their leader Eduard Kokoity said they would not “let the Georgian refugees, who have fled their villages in South Ossetia, back” to their homes.
      
  • On August 19, Russian troops loaded concrete blocks on the Georgian railroad near village Gomi.
      
  • On August 20, Russian troops occupied village Perevi in Sachkhere Municipality of western Georgia. Meanwhile, Russia rejected a UN Security Council resolution on the situation in Georgia, drafted by France.
      
  • On August 21, French ambassador to Georgia Eric Fournier was stopped by Russian troops near Gori on his way from Sachkhere to Tbilisi, causing French protests. The U.S. White House said Russia was not meeting its commitments to withdraw troops.
      
  • On August 22, the Russian-backed Tskhinvali leader Eduard Kokoity said the Georgian villages in Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia “are now totally destroyed.” Russian troops withdrew from the town of Gori.
      
  • On August 23, Russian troops established a system of checkpoints in the Georgian territory beyond Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
      
  • On August 24, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS McFaul arrived in Batumi. 
      
  • On August 26, Russian President Medvedev signed a decree recognizing the independence of Georgia’s two regions. Numerous nations and international organizations condemned the move and stressed their recognition of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
      
  • On August 27, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stated that ethnic cleansing of Georgians was taking place.
      
  • On August 28, Georgian Parliament passed a unanimous resolution, declaring the Russian armed forces deployed on the territory of Georgia as occupying forces, while designating Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia as territories occupied by Russia.
      
  • On August 29, Human Rights Watch announced that satellite images released by the UN program UNOSAT confirmed widespread burning of ethnic Georgian villages inside South Ossetia. Georgia decided to cut diplomatic ties with Russia in response to Moscow’s recognition of two Georgian regions’ independence.
      
  • On September 1, tens of thousands of Georgians formed a ‘live chain’ in Tbilisi, in protest against the Russian occupation.
      
  • On September 2, Russian President Medvedev said President Saakashvili “no longer existed” in Moscow’s eyes, calling him “a political corpse.”
      
  • On September 6, EU foreign ministers decided to send monitors to Georgia.
      
  • On September 8, the French and Russian presidents agreed, after talks in Moscow, that Russia would pull out its troops from the areas beyond Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia within a month.
      
  • On September 12, Russian President Medvedev warned NATO against Georgia’s membership.
      
  • On September 13, Russian troops removed five posts in western Georgia, including the ones in Poti. Other posts in the areas beyond Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region still remained in place.
      
  • On September 17, Russian President Medvedev signed “treaties of cooperation and friendship” with the Russian-backed Sokhumi and Tskhinvali leaders. The documents envisioned permanent Russian military presence in the two regions.
      
  • On September 23, first EU observers arrived in Georgia.
      
  • The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) officially started patrols on October 1. 
      
  • On October 8, Russian troops withdrew from their posts beyond Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region. However, Akhalgori Municipality, Georgian enclaves around Tskhinvali town and Kodori Valley all remain occupied, along with the rest of the two regions’ area, thus violating the six-point agreement of August 12, which stipulates that “the Russian armed forces will be pulled back on the line preceding the start of hostilities.”

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