Press-releases of the Embassy

August 10, 2008; 11.00

On the situation in South Ossetia (press review)

1. Russia denies Georgian forces have quit South Ossetia

Georgian troops have reportedly left South Ossetia after failing to take control of the breakaway republic. Reuters news agency have quoted Georgias Internal Affairs Ministry spokesman, Shota Utiashvili, as saying: Georgian troops have fully left South Ossetia.

However, Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone deny the claim.

2. Dmitry Medvedev held a working meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

The meeting discussed priority measures to provide aid to those affected by the Georgian aggression against the population of South Ossetia.

Mr Putin, who has returned from the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania yesterday night, informed the President about the situation in the region, organisation of aid for refugees, and plans to rebuild the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali. As a first stage in reconstruction efforts, the Russian Government will make at least 10 billion roubles available for rebuilding destroyed housing in the city.

Mr Medvedev declared at the meeting that all crimes by Georgian forces against South Ossetias civilian population must be documented as thoroughly as possible and analysed as thoroughly as possible right up to bringing criminal charges against the specific perpetrators of these acts.

3. Ossetians and Abkhazians protest near US embassy in Moscow

More than 30,000 Ossetians currently live in Moscow. Some have started collecting humanitarian aid to be sent to those in need. While others staged protests in front of the U.S. embassy.

They claim Georgia is an American puppet, and see no point in the war.

4. Dmitry Medvedev had a telephone conversation with President of the United States George W. Bush on August, 9

In the conversation it was stressed that the Georgian side had taken aggressive action against civilians and Russian peacekeepers.The consequences of the barbaric acts planned and implemented by the Georgian leadership are enormous: more than a thousand casualties, tens of thousands of refugees, mass destruction and what amounts to flouting the right for life of an entire people.

Russia is guided in these circumstances by a single concern, the immediate challenge of ending the violence, protecting the civilian population, the majority of which are Russian citizens, and the prompt restoration of peace. Within the framework of its peacekeeping mission and in accordance with the mandate given by the international community, Russia will resolve the problem of forcing the Georgian side to accept peace and of protecting the lives and dignity of its citizens, as required by the Constitution, the laws of the Russian Federation and the rules of any civilized country.

The President of Russia stressed that the only way out of the tragic crisis initiated by the Georgian leadership in Tbilisi is the withdrawal of its armed forces from the conflict zone, the return to the process of peace agreements and, most importantly, the signing of a legally binding agreement abjuring the use of force. The President expressed his hope that the U.S. and other countries interested in establishing stability and security in the Caucasus will act in a similar fashion.

For his part, the U.S. President expressed his serious concern about what has happened, called for a de-escalation of the situation and conveyed his intentions to help with the return to the task of finding a political-diplomatic settlement.

The conversation was held at the initiative of the U.S. side.

5. War victim trapped in basement with sons body

A woman is trapped in the basement of her bombed-out house in Tskhinvali after Georgia launched a ferocious missile attack early on Friday. The journalists contacted Paisia Sytnik by phone. She told the body of her dead 20-year-old son was beside her.

The planes are bombing us. I am sitting here is the basement. Fire is raging above us. Let somebody come and help us. Where are the peacekeepers? I am sitting here with other people. My son has been killed. Why nobody comes to save us? Weve got people sitting here, Paisia Sytnik said.

Tskhinvali suffered serious damage during Georgias missile offensive on Thursday and Friday. South Ossetian sources say more then 2,000 people were killed in the city, a figure Georgia denies.

The humanitarian situation in the city is grim with residents left without water or power supplies.

6. Georgia may be guilty of genocide Putin

Vladimir Putin says Georgia has broken the rules of war in its offensive in South Ossetia. After visiting a refugee camp in North Ossetia, the Prime Minister accused Georgia of genocide and said those responsible for war crimes should be prosecuted.

Shortly after his trip to the capital of North Ossetia, Vladikavkaz, the Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin met with President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the crisis in South Ossetia.

Medvedev claims those guilty of crimes against South Ossetians should bare responsibility and even face charges.

Putin says Georgia is leading a "war against the rules", calling Tbilisi's actions against South Ossetia, genocide

They are mostly women, children and the elderly. Of course, they faced a dramatic tragedy. What they told me is beyond any war rules. I believe there were elements of genocide.

Putin went on to say that criminal charges could follow: "I think our Prosecutor Generals office should take note of all incidents since most of the South Ossetian population is Russian. These are crimes against the civilian population.

Addressing the humanitarian situation, Putin said a mobile hospital has been sent to North Ossetia. He also said a second temporary hospital can soon be deployed.

Putin also said he is very concerned about the condition of people in South Ossetia and in Tskhinvali in particular.

Several hours ago we contacted people there. Theyve been staying in their basements for several days now without water there is no source of water.

Earlier the Prime Minister changed his travel plans to see for himself the efforts being made to help the war refugees from South Ossetia. The former president went to Vladikavkaz to hold talks with evacuees and local officials.
Medical support keeps arriving in Russia's republic of North Ossetia, where the majority of refugees are being taken to from the conflict zone.

The Georgians were bombing up heavily through the night so we fled because we were afraid of dying. We came to Vladikavkaz by bus along the mountain roads because the main road was under fire, said Fatima Khaseva, evacuee with two small children.

She is safe for now on Russian territory. But her loved ones remain inside the conflict zone.

Its so hard to be here knowing that my husband is still in South Ossetia. Every day Im afraid Ill hear news that hes dead, said Fatima Khaseva.

With power lines destroyed in South Ossetian villages theres no way the refugees can contact their families, and the stream of official information is low. There evacuees say theyre holding out hope that Russia will bring the war to an end. News that Russian forces are taking action is met with relief.

Locals in Vladikavkaz continue to provide much needed clothes and food to the evacuees.

7. Death toll in South Ossetia reaches 2,000

At least 2,000 people, including many children, have been killed since Georgia launched a military offensive against its breakaway republic of South Ossetia. That's according to Russia's Ambassador in Tbilisi. Meanwhile, Russian efforts to help thousands of war refugees and those still trapped in the conflict zone are in full swing.

The chief of Russia's ground forces says Georgian shelling has destroyed all the hospitals in the South Ossetian captial, Tskhinvali.

It's also reported that more than ten border villages have been burnt to the ground.

The Russian President, Dimitry Medvedev, said Georgia is denying the whole of South Ossetia the right to life by its actions. He said that: "Russian peacekeepers and military units are carrying out an operation to enforce Georgia to a peace deal. They are also responsible for defending of the civillian population".

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says the government is planning to allocate around $US 400 million for the reconstruction of South Ossetia.

The actions of the Georgian leadership in South Ossetia are crime against their own people. A deliberate blow was delivered to the integrity of Georgia and that means a massive damage to its identity. It is hard to imagine after all that happened and all that is still happening they will be able to convince South Ossetia to belong to Georgia, said Vladimir Putin.

The Russian Ambassador to Georgia, Vyacheslav Kovalenko, says 12 Russian peacekeepers have been killed and 70 wounded during the Georgian attacks.

People take shelter in bunkers

More than 30,000 refugees have arrived in Russia's southern regions as people try to flee the conflict zone. Meanwhile, thousands of people still remain in the demolished city of Tskhinvali. Amid continuing shelling, people are sheltering in bunkers, but are said to be running out of food, and there is no water or electricity.

Russia's Emergency's Ministry has delivered the first consignment of medication to the South Ossetian capital. Humanitarian aid and power generators are also expected to be delivered soon.

Russian military officials say the 76th Airborne Brigade of the Russian Army has arrived in the conflict region. One section of the brigade has already flown to the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali. Other troops will move to the region by ground transport, military sources said.

The main goal of the reinforcements, military officials insist, is to restore peace and protect Russian citizens.

8. No western cameras in South Ossetia

The conflict over Georgias breakaway republic is as much about information as it is about weapons. South Ossetia's press service claims Western media outlets can't be trusted because they haven't been operating in the region since the conflict began.

Only the Russian media and one Ukrainian channel have been filming in the breakaway republic. No western camera crews have been working in the conflict zone, Suslan Bekoev, South Ossetian committee for information and press, said.

9. Tbilisi remains silent - Russia

Russia's Foreign Ministry says it has not received any proposals from Georgia to stop hostilities. The statement comes after reports that Georgia's President offered Moscow a plan to end the violence.

Russia has insisted a deal can only be reached if Georgia withdraws its troops.

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it sent additional forces to aid the peacekeepers in the conflict zone, as a response to Georgia's aggression.

Meanwhile, Tbilisi has introduced martial law, and accused Russia of launching a war against it.

According to: Official web-sites of the President of the Russian Federation, of the Ministry of the Foreign Affaires, Voice of Russia State Broadcasting Radio Company, Russia Today TV Channel, RIA Novosti Information Agency