Report Rebuts Georgian Claims About Invasion

It suggests nation shelled S. Ossetia to provoke Russia
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2008 7:24 AM CST
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili is seen during a Security Council meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia, Saturday, Oct. 25, 2008.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Independent military observers have published new accounts that contradict Georgia's claim that it was acting defensively against Russian aggression. The reports suggest instead that the small Georgian army moved into Tskhinvali unprovoked, unleashing artillery and rocket fire without discrimination at civilians and unarmed monitors. It also discounts the claim, made on television the night of the invasion, that ethnic Georgian villages in breakaway South Ossetia were under attack.

Interviews by the New York Times in South Ossetia suggest that the conclusions of the military observers are largely accurate. The findings were compiled by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international group of which the US is a member. Its reports place America in a delicate position; while Washington has given its steadfast backing to Georgia and its president, Mikheil Saakashvili, it has praised the OSCE's professionalism for years.