EU Report: Georgia Started War
But Russia broke international law, militia committed genocide
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2009 8:30 AM CDT
A boy holds an Abkhazian flag during celebrations marking the the first anniversary of Russia's recognition of Abkhazia's independence in downtown Sukhumi, Aug. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/Yuri Ivaschenko)
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(Newser) – Georgia was responsible for triggering last summer’s war with Russia, a European Union investigation has concluded. But Russia was far from blameless, laying the foundation for the war and breaking international law by invading. The report, which was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, also accuses Russian-backed South Ossetian militias of ethnic cleansing against Georgian civilians, both during the war and afterward.

Though Russia had sent troops into South Ossetia before the conflict began, it hadn’t launched the full-scale invasion Georgia claimed to be responding to when it shelled the South Ossetian capital—a move the report concludes also broke international law. Russia was justified in moving troops into South Ossetia, the report said, but not into Abkhazia or the rest of Georgia.