Russian prosecutors report timeline of South Ossetia attack
The Investigative Committee of the Russian General Prosecutor's Office has announced the chronology of events of the first days of Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia. The details were revealed by second deputy head of the committee's military investigations department Dmitry Shalkov.
On August 7, Georgian troops built up on the border with South Ossetia, and in the evening they began shooting at the residential districts of South Ossetia’s capital city of Tskhinvali. "Peacekeepers tried to contact them, but their signals were ignored," Shalkov stressed.
At around 6.35 a.m. on August 8, from the positions prepared in advance, including on a local cemetery, Georgian troops opened direct fire on a Russian peacekeeping battalion. The targets had been selected in advance, Shalkov added. "As they were retreating, Georgians left behind documents including a detailed map of the positioning of the peacekeeping battalion and surrounding area, based on space recognizance data, with a resolution of 1:5000," he told reporters.
According to Russian investigators, Georgia lacks the technology and technical capability to produce such maps. The first tank shot destroyed an observation post on the roof of a barracks, killing an observer. The equipment of the Russian peacekeeping battalion, including an ambulance, was destroyed and burnt in the first minutes of the fighting, and several Russian peacekeepers were killed, after which Georgian infantry troops launched a massive attack, supported by tank fire.
"The peacekeepers had been standing the attack for more than a day and a half. Only after the buildings were almost completely destroyed did they retreat under mortar fire, losing soldiers," Shalkov said.
Ten peacekeepers died in the first hours of the battle, and some went missing. Over forty servicemen were wounded. Shalkov cited the results of the interrogation of six Georgian servicemen. One of them said that a brigade of some 3,000 troops had marched through the city of Gori on the evening of August 7, and in the morning of August 8 it had been ordered to occupy two villages in South Ossetia.
The Georgian brigade was equipped with armored personnel carriers (made in the USSR and Ukraine), about sixty T-72 tanks, some seventy 120mm howitzers and small arms produced in the US. He said Tskhinvali had been stormed by a 500-strong unit of Georgian special forces and an infantry brigade based in Kutaisi, which is controlled by the Georgian Defense Minister.
Another prisoner said that at about 1 a.m. on August 7 he had received orders to load a Grad multiple-barrel rocket launcher for an attack on Tskhinvali. From August 8 to 10, his launcher alone sent at least 80 rockets into the city. It has also been established during the interrogation that all military exercises of Georgian troops (right before the beginning of the Georgian operation) were carried out by US army officers.
[Source: RosBusinessConsulting, Moscow, 21Aug08]
The Question of South Ossetia
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