Wednesday, September 30, 2009

EU report: Georgia started war, Russia also guilty

An EU report finds Georgia at fault for starting last fall's Georgia-Russia war.

From the Washington Post:

"None of the explanations given by the Georgian in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack lend it a valid explanation," said Heidi Tagliavini, the Swiss diplomat asked to conduct the probe, in a statement accompanying a report of more than 1,000 pages. "In particular, there was no massive Russian military invasion underway, which had to be stopped by Georgia military forces shelling Tskhinvali," the capital of South Ossetia.

But Tagliavini stopped short of blaming Georgia for causing the August 2008 war, concluding that Russia also violated international law by issuing large numbers of passports to residents of separatist enclaves in Georgia before the fighting began and by sending its troops deep into Georgian territory afterward.

In addition, she said Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent states was illegitimate, and accused the Russian-backed Ossetian militias of conducting ethnic cleansing of Georgian civilians.

This blog has always held that the Russians have a point in recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia, since neither has ever shown any inclination to want to be part of Georgia and ethnonationalistically would probably not be able to function as part of the country. The end result from this report shouldn't be surprising, though: no one in the conflict behaved well, and no one came out of it looking good. Again, from the article:

"There is no way to assign overall responsibility for the conflict to one side alone," she wrote. "They all have failed, and it should be their responsibility to make good for it."

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