Georgians Shelling South Ossetia?

by Nathan Hamm on 7/29/2004 · 1 comment

Well, if you listen to Eduard Kokoity, they are.

Interfax quoted South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity as saying that the attack involving artillery and mortars started around 1900 GMT on Thursday evening and lasted two hours.

Kokoity also told Interfax that Georgian forces shelled several villages in the region. He said that Georgian forces also tried to enter the northern fringes of Tskhinvali, but were stopped by local militia.

“The massive attack on Tskhinvali is a beginning of a well planned aggression by Georgia,” Kokoity said.

I’m taking this with a grain of salt until someone other than Interfax reports it.

This story makes it sound like fire definitely was exchanged, but does not verify Kokoity’s story.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 1 comment }

Dan July 29, 2004 at 11:26 pm

Prediction: Behind closed doors, Putin will write off Kokoity’s increasingly troublesome and expensive fiefdom in exchange for Saakashvili’s commitment to let Russian troops stay in Georgia (if they’re really ambitious, an agreement may even be reached about Abkhazia, but that’s a long shot). Once the ink is dry, Georgian troops move in as Russian peacekeepers declare “safe havens” in towns along the road from Tskhinvali to North Ossetia. The Georgian militia will be greeted as liberators in Georgian-majority villages, while most Ossetes, a few Slavs, and anyone linked — however tenuously — to the Kokoity regime will flee to the safe havens (my guess, 15,000 to 30,000 people total). As likely as not, Tskhinvali will be a ghost town by the time Georgian troops hoist the Cross of St. George over it. Individual atrocities will inevitably be committed by both sides, but this won’t climb too high on the Western media’s radar, especially if it’s over in a matter of days or, at most, a week or two (think the fall of Knin in Croatia back in ’95, or even the Prigorodny ethnic cleansing in ’92). Speaking of which, Putin is hopefully too pragmatic to settle South Ossetian refugees in Prigorodny; if not, the Ingush crisis could finally blow over into another Chechnya.

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