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NewsWar Chronicle

Russo-Georgian War: August 8, 2008 draws on 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 8:

  • Following President Saakashvili’s orders, issued at 23:35, August 7, to stop the Russian regular forces advancing from the Russian-Georgian border to Tskhinvali and to suppress the firing positions in and around Tskhinvali from which shelling of the Georgian villages, peacekeepers and police had been carried out, the Georgian armed forces launch maneuver operations in the early hours of August 8.
  • An MoD official Mamuka Kurashvili tells journalists that the South Ossetian side had rejected Tbilisi’s earlier decision to unilaterally cease fire and had resumed shelling of Georgian villages in the conflict zone, and that the Georgian side ”has decided to restore constitutional order” in the region. Kurashvili was later reprimanded for his statement, which was repudiated by Georgian officials, including President Saakashvili. Kurashvili himself said his words were unauthorized and “impulsive.”
  • At 02:37 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin telephones Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, telling him that Russian armed forces are starting military operation in Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
  • The head of the Russian Federation’s region of North Ossetia Teimuraz Mamsurov tells Russian journalists that “hundreds of volunteers are on their way to South Ossetia.”
  • Georgian forces establish control over several villages in the vicinity of Tskhinvali.
  • At 04:10 Russian ambassador to Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko visits the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and tells Deputy Minister Grigol Vashadze that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been removed from the decision-making process and hence all decisions are made by the Russian General Staff.
  • By 05:20 incoming Russian troops pass Java town and keep advancing to the Dzari bypass road on the way to Tskhinvali.
  • At 06:35 Georgian artillery and Su-25 military aircraft conduct an attack in the area of the Gupta Bridge, south of Java, in an unsuccessful attempt to halt the advancing Russian column. This is the only mission by the Georgian fixed-wing aircraft during the war, since from August 8 the Georgian air space begins to be dominated by the Russian Air Force.
  • The Abkhaz forces launch preparations for an attack on the Georgian-held Kodori Valley in north-eastern Abkhazia, introducing heavy weapons into the Restricted Weapons Zone, in violation of the 1994 Moscow Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces, disregarding protests by the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG).
  •  In the morning, the Russian 7th Air Assault Division, based in Novorossiysk, is ordered to deploy to Abkhazia. At 18:30 the 7th Division’s forces begin loading on the amphibious ships for transportation to Abkhazia.
  • Commander of the Russian peacekeeping battalion stationed at the southern end of Tskhinvali Konstantin Timmerman receives an order to stop the Georgian forces from entering Tskhinvali, which he communicates to his subordinates, authorizing them to “shoot to kill.”
  • Around 06:00 Georgian forces, advancing from village Zemo Nikozi towards Tskhinvali, take fire from the base of the Russian peacekeepers, who had been reinforced in advance by the troops of the Russian 10th Special Forces Brigade, while artillery fire against the Georgians is being coordinated from the roof of a building at the Russian peacekeepers’ base. Both sides suffer casualties in the ensuing fight.
  • From 09:30 Russian air force bombs areas in Gori and Kareli districts.
  • Around 11:00 Georgian forces enter Tskhinvali from Zemo Nikozi village, come under fire from local fighters in the streets, as well as the Russian air force.
  • President Saakashvili says Russia has launched “large-scale military aggression,” announces military mobilization.
  • Russian Foreign Ministry accuses Georgia of launching “a treacherous and massive attack” on Tskhinvali.
  • Russian Defense Ministry says it “will not let anyone offend our peacekeepers and citizens of the Russian Federation.”
  • After 14:00 Georgian officials claim that the Georgian troops control a large part of Tskhinvali town, announce a moratorium on the fighting from 15:00-18:00 to allow withdrawal of civilians from the warzone.
  • At around 15:00 the Russian artillery of the 693rd Motor Rifle Regiment and 292nd Artillery Regiment opens fire at the Georgian forces in the area of Tskhinvali.
  • Between 15:00-19:05, Russian air force bombs the towns of Marneuli, Bolnisi and Gori, as well as Vaziani base in the outskirts of Tbilisi.
  • Russian President Medvedev follows his Defense Ministry, saying that Russia will “defend the lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are.”
  • Between 18:00-19:00 a column of Russian tanks, armored vehicles and trucks approaches Tskhinvali by the Dzari bypass road. Russian forces open fire against the Georgian armed forces located in Tskhinvali and the surrounding area.
  • An aide to the commander of the Russian land forces Igor Konashenkov says that “artillery and combat tanks of the units of the 58th Army” are firing at the Georgian forces in Tskhinvali area.
  • By 20:30 Georgian forces withdraw from the center of Tskhinvali.
  • By 22:40 main Russian forces have positioned itself on the Galuanta heights on the Dzari road, north-west of Tskhinvali.
  • Tbilisi initiates withdrawal of its 2 000-strong military force in Iraq back to Georgia.
  • At 23:45 Russian air force again bombs Vaziani, in the outskirts of Tbilisi. In sum, during August 8 Russian air force carries out 63 sorties against Georgia.
  • Around 23:45 two Russian planes conduct reconnaissance flights over Kodori Valley, taking photographs of the Georgian positions in preparation for an attack on the valley.
  • At 23:50 Russian forces bomb the town of Poti (a port in western Georgia) with a Tochka-U/SS-21 missile.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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