Press-releases of the Embassy

August 8, 2008; 18.00

On the situation in South Ossetia

Statement on the Situation in South Ossetia The Kremlin, Moscow August 8, 2008

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: As you know, Russia has maintained and continues to maintain a presence on Georgian territory on an absolutely lawful basis, carrying out its peacekeeping mission in accordance with the agreements concluded. We have always considered maintaining the peace to be our paramount task. Russia has historically been a guarantor for the security of the peoples of the Caucasus, and this remains true today.

Last night, Georgian troops committed what amounts to an act of aggression against Russian peacekeepers and the civilian population in South Ossetia. What took place is a gross violation of international law and of the mandates that the international community gave Russia as a partner in the peace process.

Georgias acts have caused loss of life, including among Russian peacekeepers. The situation reached the point where Georgian peacekeepers opened fire on the Russian peacekeepers with whom they are supposed to work together to carry out their mission of maintaining peace in this region. Civilians, women, children and old people, are dying today in South Ossetia, and the majority of them are citizens of the Russian Federation.

In accordance with the Constitution and the federal laws, as President of the Russian Federation it is my duty to protect the lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they may be.

It is these circumstances that dictate the steps we will take now. We will not allow the deaths of our fellow citizens to go unpunished. The perpetrators will receive the punishment they deserve.

Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov Concerning the Situation in South Ossetia

On the night of August 7-8, just several hours after the agreement had been reached to hold talks to settle the new round of the South Ossetia conflict Georgian military units undertook a treacherous, massive attack on Tskhinvali. A use-of-force scenario was resorted to by the Georgian leadership, despite all the diplomatic efforts that had been undertaken in contacts among Moscow, Tbilisi, Tskhinvali, Washington and other concerned capitals.

The credibility of the Georgian leadership as a responsible participant of the negotiation process and of the international intercourse corresponding to the principles of the United Nations Charter in general has been completely undermined as a result. It has become absolutely understandable why during a long period Tbilisi had under various pretexts stubbornly avoided concluding legally binding agreements with South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the nonuse of force.

It is still not too late to prevent massive bloodshed and new casualties, including those among the civilian population. We are also highly concerned about the Russian peacekeepers fate.

The Georgian leadership should think better of it and return to civilized methods of solving the complicated issues of political settlement. We also expect that our foreign partners and the international community as a whole will not remain indifferent at this difficult moment when the destinies of the hundreds of thousands of people living in this region are being decided. It is necessary to jointly stop violence that is fraught with the gravest consequences for regional and international security.

The Russian Federation will continue its efforts directed at preventing any further bloodshed and at getting the situation in South Ossetia back into its peaceful course.