Behind the scenes of the Russia-Georgia conflict

17 September 2008

Nina Markovic
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Section


Background to the conflict
  War in South Ossetia  
  War in Abkhazia  
  The rise in hostilities  
  The 'Kosovo factor'  
  NATO–Georgia cooperation  
Mediation efforts
Consequences of the conflict  
  US–Russia relations  
  US–Georgia relations  
  UN Security Council  
The EU position  
Australia's position  
What does the future hold?  


Overnight on 7 August 2008 the Georgian military launched a surprise aerial bombardment and ground troop campaign in the breakaway province of South Ossetia, with the intention of reasserting the Georgian Government’s authority over the disputed territory. This action followed months of tensions between South Ossetian independence supporters and Georgian police forces, and between Russia and Georgia. A series of humanitarian developments, such as the evacuation of women and children from South Ossetia to North Ossetia on 2 August, highlighted the tensions.

The Georgian offensive devastated the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, effectively ending the country’s sixteen-year policy of restraint with respect to South Ossetia.[1] Media reports indicate that hundreds of civilians (out of a population of 70 000) were wounded or killed in the Georgian attacks, many of whom held Russian citizenship.[2] A UN Security Council report states that in the Georgian offensive, Russian peacekeepers deployed in the area were also overrun.[3]

Russia responded with overwhelming military force on 8 August 2008 and the Georgian army withdrew from South Ossetia within days. The Russian Parliament subsequently recognised the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia on 25 August 2008.[4] Although the direct hostilities between Russia and Georgia might now be over, uncertainty remains with regard to Russia’s future role in the Caucasus. The whole incident has also cast a shadow over the future of Russia’s relations with the West.

Background to the conflict

In order to understand the current conflict, it helps to address some of the historical reasons behind the rise in hostilities between Russia and Georgia in 2008, the effect of Kosovo’s independence on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and cooperation between Georgia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Origins of the conflict between the Georgian Government and the South Ossetian/Abkhazian regional authorities can be traced to the break-up of the Russian empire in 1918 as well as the Soviet Union in 1991, and the civil wars that followed. Since the ceasefires of the early 1990s, Russia has acted as guarantor of the de facto autonomy of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, although this did not extend to an official recognition until 25 August 2008.[5]

War in South Ossetia

Modern-day South Ossetia, as well as Georgia proper, was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1801. The South Ossetian region became a part of the Georgian Menshevik Republic with the break-up of the Russian empire in 1918, while North Ossetia formed a part of the Terek Soviet Republic.[6] This resulted in a civil war in 1918–1922 as the South Ossetians sought independence from Georgia, which the latter suppressed. The South Ossetian Oblast (province) was organised within the Georgian republic on 20 April 1922.

In the USSR South Ossetia was an autonomous province within Georgia. The South Ossetian Popular Front movement was created in 1988 and assumed political power in 1989.[7] In November 1989, the South Ossetian authorities asked the Government of Georgia for the status of an ‘autonomous republic’, which Abkhazia already enjoyed.

The Georgian Government declined this request, furthermore banning all regional political parties during parliamentary elections in September 1990.[8] The South Ossetian authorities boycotted the Georgian parliamentary elections and held their own elections, proclaiming independence from Georgia.[9] In retaliation, on 11 December 1990, the Georgian Government abolished South Ossetia’s autonomy altogether and declared its independence from the Soviet Union in April 1991. Later in 1991 a civil war broke out in South Ossetia, resulting in many casualties and the displacement of tens of thousands of people.[10] A ceasefire was mediated by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The Sochi Agreement finally ended the conflict on 24 June 1992.[11] Since 1992, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has agreed to monitor the ceasefire.[12]

Ten years later, in October 2002, the situation had become tense again, but Russian President Vladimir Putin and Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze managed to come to an agreement, which inter alia addressed policing along South Ossetia’s porous border.[13] Furthermore, Shevardnadze agreed to extradite five Chechens on Russia’s ‘wanted list’ following the Moscow theatre hostage crisis of October 2002.

According to a US State Department report, a change of leadership in Georgia in January 2004 brought to power Mikheil Saakashvili ‘who expressed a renewed interest in reintegrating Georgia’s separatist regions’.[14] In May 2004, the Saakashvili Government closed down a large unregulated South Ossetian market, estimated to be worth $35 million per year.[15] In response, South Ossetians closed down highways and detained Georgian troops within South Ossetian borders. The exchanges of mortar fire that ensued reportedly killed dozens in late July and August 2004.[16]  

A ceasefire agreement ended the conflict in August 2004. This brought international attention to the conflict, as well as securing more funding in support of permanent peace negotiations in the region.[17] A Joint Control Commission (JCC) and the Joint Peacekeeping Forces group were established by the OSCE in search of a peaceful settlement to the conflict. The latter comprised peacekeepers from Georgia, Russia and North Ossetia.

In 2005 South Ossetians rejected the offer of autonomy by the Saakashvili Government. In November 2006 South Ossetians voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum which the Georgian Government did not recognise. A simultaneous referendum among the region’s ethnic Georgians voted to stay within Georgia and in spring 2007 Saakashvili set up a parallel pro-Georgian government in South Ossetia.[18]

War in Abkhazia

Abkhazia was an autonomous republic within Georgia between 1931 and 1992.[19] In February 1992 Georgia’s ruling Military Council reinstated the pre-Soviet 1921 Constitution. In July 1992, the Abkhaz faction of the republic’s Supreme Council declared independence from Georgia, triggering a conflict with the Georgian Government in August 1992. The first substantive negotiations took place under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva on 1 December 1993. On 4 April 1994, the Georgian and Abkhazian sides signed a peace agreement in Moscow. In June 1994, peacekeepers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) were deployed along the ceasefire line.[20] In October 2001, violence escalated again. Since then, the situation of ‘no war, no peace’ has prevailed in Abkhazia.[21]

The rise in hostilities

In the months preceding the recent Russia–Georgia conflict there were signs of brinkmanship between Russia and Georgia, which increased the risk of another conflict in the Caucasus.[22] According to an International Crisis Group report:

Georgia … has mishandled its relationships with Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia since 2004, abandoning real confidence building and often following confrontational policies towards the conflict regions.[23]

While the exact reasons behind Georgia’s recent military action in South Ossetia are yet to be determined, some analysts have suggested that factors such as the private and official military training of the Georgian army by some Western countries, the prospect of Georgia’s NATO membership; and an expanded military budget had encouraged the Saakashvili Government to change Georgia’s policy towards the break-away region.[24]

Outlined below are the key events from February to July 2008, which chart the rise in hostilities between Russia and Georgia.

February 2008

Following Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008, Russia undertook a series of steps to strengthen its relations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This included increased economic aid to the regions, the recognition of certain businesses and the establishment of consular services in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar.[25]

March–May 2008

On 4 March, Georgia withdrew from the quadripartite (Georgia-South Ossetia-North Ossetia-Russia) Joint Control Commission structure.[26] On 20 April a Georgian unmanned aerial vehicle was downed over Abkhazia ‘by what UN investigators believe was a Russian MiG-29 or Su-27 combat aircraft’.[27] On 5 May Georgia pulled out of a bilateral air defence cooperation treaty with Russia.[28] On 6 May, Georgia’s Minister for reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, stated that ‘Georgia is very close to war with Russia … We literally have to avert war’.[29]

June 2008

In mid–June, clashes occurred in South Ossetia between the ethnic South Ossetian and Georgian-controlled villages. The exchange of fire between the South Ossetian and Georgian forces was followed by ‘unclaimed terrorist bombings within the separatist entity and Abkhazia, its counterpart in northwest Georgia’.[30] Bombings on 29 and 30 June targeted tourist areas in Abkhazia—usually frequented by Russian tourists during the summer months.

July 2008

In July, the EU External Relations Commissioner expressed her support for an international mediation to avert armed conflict between Georgia and Russia.[31] According to an article from the London Review of Books, ‘Georgia’s military spending went from $84m in 2004 to $339m in 2006; in July 2008, the Georgian parliament approved a budget which raised it to $1bn’.[32] During this month Georgia also held joint military exercises with the US, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Armenia–known as Exercise Immediate Response 2008.[33]

In response to these developments, Russia increased its peacekeeping presence in the region. It also sent four combat aircraft to circle South Ossetia on 8 July to deter Georgian military action in the region, and, for the first time, publicly announced having done so.  Georgia reacted to Russia’s announcement by recalling its ambassador from Moscow on 10 July. Georgia also stepped up flights of its aircraft and drones over South Ossetia.[34] Russia then conducted military exercises in the region—Caucasus Frontier 2008—drawing criticism from the Georgian Government.[35] Georgia’s offensive in South Ossetia on 7 August enabled Russia to claim that it had acted to ‘protect Russian citizens from further Georgian aggression’.[36]

The ‘Kosovo factor’

Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008 and its subsequent recognition by many EU states and the US reportedly gave hope to separatist movements around the world in their quest for independent statehood.[37] Abkhazia and South Ossetia intensified their calls for the recognition of their independence by Russia, the United Nations and other international organisations following Kosovo’s recognition of independence. The leader of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, stated on 18 February 2008:

In the near future Abkhazia will appeal to the Russian parliament and the UN Security Council with a request to recognise its independence.[38]

The Russian Parliament initially refused to recognise South Ossetian and Abkhazian independence when the Federation Council discussed the issue in April 2008, stating that such recognition would contradict Russia’s peacekeeping role in the region.[39] However, as discussed, Parliament changed its position in late August 2008.

NATO–Georgia cooperation

Georgia’s efforts to attain membership to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have been generally perceived by Russia as a direct threat to its security.[40] The Saakashvili Government has been actively seeking to attain NATO membership since 2004. At the NATO summit in Bucharest on 2–4 April 2008, Georgia failed to secure a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP)—generally considered to be the final step before full membership can be considered.[41] However, the country was offered an intensified political engagement with NATO and the prospect of eventual membership to the organisation. It was reported that some of NATO’s European members, including Germany and France, blocked Georgia’s bid for MAP at the Bucharest summit.[42]

On 19 August NATO member states put forward a proposal to establish a NATO–Georgia Commission to ‘oversee the further development of relations as well as to follow up on decisions taken at the 2008 Bucharest Summit concerning Georgia’s membership aspirations’.[43] On 21 August Russia ceased all military cooperation with NATO.[44] The situation is similar to the temporary halt in their relations during the NATO bombing campaign against Serbia and Montenegro over the province of Kosovo in 1999. Furthermore, Russia’s assistance to NATO in relation to operations in Afghanistan, and NATO–Russia counter-terrorism cooperation might be affected if the dialogue between NATO and Russia is not re-established.[45]

Mediation efforts

The OSCE has been promoting a peaceful solution to the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia since the civil wars of the early 1990s.  Prior to Russia’s recent involvement in the conflict with Georgia over South Ossetia, OSCE member states have had a 200-member mission of unarmed military observers in Georgia.[46] The Permanent Council of OSCE decided in August 2008 to increase the mission in Georgia by up to another 100 observers in support of the French-brokered peace plan.[47] On 26 August the OSCE condemned Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s independence.[48]

The OSCE and the EU, currently under French Presidency, have been investing significant resources to mediate the conflict. The OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, flew to Moscow in an effort to stop the further escalation of violence in the region. France engaged in ‘shuttle diplomacy’ between Moscow and Tbilisi at the highest diplomatic level, and under the auspices of the EU eventually brokered a Six-Point Peace Plan on 12 August, which was subsequently signed by both Russia and Georgia a few days later.

Consequences of the conflict

The confrontation between Russia and Georgia from 8 to 12 August 2008 ended with Georgia’s military defeat and Russian military advances deep into Georgia’s territory. This is unsurprising given the vast differences in size between the armies of these two countries.[49] Georgia officially cut diplomatic relations with Russia on 3 September, which was reciprocated by Russia on 4 September.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused both sides of committing abuses against the civilian population.[50] In particular, these organisations have questioned the role of Russian and Georgian–backed armed militia groups in the conflict. Furthermore, it has been reported that the International Criminal Court is analysing evidence of alleged crimes in Georgia.[51] On 5 September members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) condemned Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia, stating their support for Russia’s role in the conflict.[52] On 8 September Georgia applied to the International Court of Justice in The Hague for interim protection against Russia.[53] Georgia pulled out of the Commonwealth of Independent States on 12 August.

The Norwegian Refugee Council estimates that the conflict caused the displacement of more than 100 000 people.[54] On 12 September the UN refugee agency—UNHCR—published updated figures on the number of people internally displaced by the conflict in South Ossetia. The agency reported that a total of 192 000 people were forced to flee their homes.[55] The conflict has also had negative repercussions for investor confidence in the region, reflected in the fall of share prices at the Russian and Georgian stock exchanges in August 2008.[56]

US–Russia relations

Relations between the US and Russia suffered a major setback following the conflict over South Ossetia. Poland’s decision to sign a missile defence deal with the US on 15 August, which Russia opposes, could not have helped the situation.[57] Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said in a Joint Press Conference with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the US anti–ballistic missile defence is directed against the Russian Federation and not rogue states.[58]

On 27 August the US, Germany, France, Japan, the UK, Canada and Italy issued a joint statement in which they condemned Russia’s actions in Georgia, and called for a ‘peaceful, durable solution to the conflict’.[59] Furthermore, the US President George W. Bush said that Russia’s bid to join global economic institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), might suffer as a result of its actions in Georgia.[60]

The presence of US and Russian warships in the Black Sea also increased tensions between the two countries. However, both parties have indicated they do not want another Cold War. Republican Presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, said in his acceptance speech at the Republican Party Convention on 4 September:

As President, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War.[61]

The Democratic Party Presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama, has urged both Russia and Georgia to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.[62] Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ruled out the possibility of a new Cold War, but accused the US of arming Georgia and not doing enough to restrain the Saakashvili Government.[63] In an interview with CNN on 29 August he reiterated this position, and said that the alleged US involvement in the conflict was driven by US domestic politics.[64]

On 8 September Russia announced it will conduct joint military exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean between 10 and 14 November.[65] On the same day the US Government removed the US–Russia civilian nuclear cooperation agreement (the so-called 123 Agreement) from consideration by Congress.[66] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that ‘given the current environment, the time is not right for this agreement’.[67] Moreover, the conflict has resulted in both governments cancelling joint counter-terrorism exercises scheduled for August/September 2008.

US–Georgia relations

The US is Georgia’s closest ally and the largest foreign investor in the country. Since 1991, the US has provided Georgia with US$1.7 billion in assistance.[68] Georgia’s troop contributions to the US–led Coalition in Iraq further strengthened their relations. Following the Russia–Georgia conflict, the Bush Administration pledged US$1.2 billion in assistance to Georgia over the coming years for reconstruction and economic development. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated:

These resources are in addition to U.S. assistance already being provided to Georgia under existing programs, and they will be complemented by expanded efforts to promote more trade and more investment in Georgia.[69] 

The International Monetary Fund has pledged in principle another US$750 million for reconstruction efforts in Georgia.[70] Media reports stated that the US Government indicated it will consider providing Georgia with additional military assistance in the near future.[71] In response, Russia has called for an arms embargo against Georgia in the UN Security Council.[72]  

UN Security Council

The conflict between Russia and Georgia has had negative consequences for international cooperation in the UN Security Council. It has created divisions between the UN Security Council’s member states, in particular Russia and the US. It has also diverted the Council’s attention from other pressing issues, such as the humanitarian emergency in Darfur in Sudan, and the issue of the Iranian uranium enrichment programme.[73] The UNSC remains deadlocked on the issue of the Russia–Georgia conflict.[74]  

The EU position

The conflict in the Caucasus has also created divisions in the EU over how to deal with Russia—a key energy supplier to the EU.[75] Some EU member states, led by France and Germany, have pushed for a diplomatic solution to the situation in Georgia. Others, including Poland, Italy, Sweden and the UK, have advocated a stronger stance against Russia.

Despite these divisions, the EU as a bloc has now managed to secure a common position with regard to the conflict. [76] On 1 September 2008 an Extraordinary European Council meeting was convened on the situation in Georgia. At this meeting, the Council condemned Russia’s recognition of independence for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.[77] Furthermore, the Council expressed full support for the French-brokered peace agreement and appointed an EU Special Representative for the crisis in Georgia. The European Commission has provided €6 million in humanitarian aid to the region,[78] and the EU has proposed convening a Special Georgia Donor’s Conference to raise money for Georgia’s reconstruction.[79] The EU Foreign Ministers have also called for an inquiry into the Russia–Georgia conflict.[80]

The EU–Russia summit which was scheduled for 14 November in Nice, is now likely to be delayed as a result of the conflict. The next round of talks on the EU–Russia Partnership Agreement will be postponed until troops have withdrawn to the positions held prior to 7 August.[81] On 9 September EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Javier Solana, strongly condemned Russia’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.[82]

Australia’s position

The Georgian Government asked other countries, including Australia, for military assistance during the conflict with Russia. The Australian Government declined, but has, however, pledged humanitarian assistance of $1 million to the international agencies operating on the ground in Georgia.[83] The Australian Government has also expressed support for Georgia’s territorial integrity, and has continued to advocate a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

What does the future hold?

The recent conflict in the Caucasus has strained Russia’s relations with some Western countries. NATO–Russia relations, which have in the past achieved cooperation on significant issues, such as Afghanistan and counter-terrorism, have also been affected. Russia’s prospective membership of the WTO is also now in doubt.

The Russia–Georgia military confrontation has had a significant impact on Georgia’s political and strategic outlook and that of the immediate region. It has contributed to the increase of Russia’s influence in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Long-term impacts of the conflict are still to be assessed.

In order to honour the provisions of the peace agreement, it is important that the EU military observers are deployed in the region by 1 October and Russian troops withdraw from Georgia by mid-October. Efforts by third parties to reinvoke confidence-building measures between Russia and Georgia might be needed to address their differences. Upcoming international talks in Geneva on the conflict—scheduled for 15 October 2008—could be the platform for such an action.[84]

[1].    RIA Novosti, ‘South Ossetia says over 1 000 dead after Georgian attack’, Global Research, 8 August 2008,, accessed on 1 September 2008; The Associated Press, ‘Georgia to let civilians flee South Ossetia’, The International Herald Tribune, 8 August 2008,, accessed on 2 September 2008; T. de Waal, ‘South Ossetia: An Avoidable Catastrophe’, Caucasus Reporting service, no. 452, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 11 August 2008,, accessed on 2 September 2008. 

[2].    ‘Russian troops enter South Ossetia after Georgian offensive’, Agence France-Presse, 8 August 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008; ‘Death toll in South Ossetia reaches 2 000’, Russia Today, 10 August 2008,, accessed on 1 September 2008.

[3].    UN Security Council Report, ‘Georgia Update Report No. 2’, 12 August 2008,, accessed on 2 September 2008. 

[4].    The second country to recognise their independence was Nicaragua on 3 September 2008.

[5].    T. Wood, ‘What Condoleezza Said’, London Review of Books, 29 August 2008,, accessed on 10 September 2008.

[6].    K. Vakfi, ‘South Ossetia’,, accessed on 4 September 2008.

[7].    Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, ‘The United States and the South Ossetian conflict’, US Department of State, 31 March 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008.

[8].    ‘South Ossetia–Background’,,, accessed on 3 September 2008. 

[9].    Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, op. cit.

[10]. ‘South Ossetia–Background’, op. cit.

[11]. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, ‘Personal Representative of the CSCE Chairman-in-Office for Georgia’, 6 November 1992,, accessed on 1 September 2008.

[12]. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, ‘OSCE Mission to Georgia’,, accessed on 9 September 2008.

[13]. ‘Russia, Georgia Draw up Draft Agreement on Joint Border Patrols’, People’s Daily Online, 14 October 2002,, accessed on 3 September 2008. E. Shevardnadze was Georgia’s President from 1995 to 23 November 2003.

[14]. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, op. cit; M. Strijbosch, ‘Last chance for peace in South Ossetia’, Radio Netherlands, 20 August 2004,, accessed on 3 September 2008. 

[15]. ‘Closure of Ergneti Black Market Boosted Customs Revenues’,, 2 September 2004,, accessed on 3 September 2008; T. Wood, op. cit.

[16]. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, op. cit.

[17]. ibid.

[18]. ‘Regions and territories: South Ossetia’, BBC News,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[19]. ‘Soviet Abkhazia’,,, accessed on 3 September 2008. 

[20]. T. Cooper, ‘Georgia and Abkhazia 1992–93: The war of Datchas’, ACIG Journal, 29 September 2003,, accessed on 3 September 2008; Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), ‘About Commonwealth of Independent States’,, accessed on 4 September 2008.

[21]. N. Caspersen, ‘Separatism and Democracy in the Caucasus’, Survival, vol. 50, no. 4, August–September 2008, pp. 113–136.

[22]. The situation in the region had also become tense, in October 2006, when Russia launched an economic blockade of Georgia in response to the arrests of four Russian officials by the Georgian Government.

[23]. International Crisis Group, ‘Russia vs. Georgia: The Fallout’, Europe Report No. 195, 22 August 2008, p. i,
, accessed on 1 September 2008.

[24]. M. Glenny, ‘Superpower swoop: What Russia and America are really doing in Georgia’, New Statesman, 18 August 2008, pp. 14–15.

[25]. ‘Georgia and Russia square off’, Jane’s Foreign Report, No. 2977, 22 May 2008, pp. 3–4.

[26]. ‘Georgia’s long hot summer’, Jane’s Foreign Report, No. 2987, 31 July 2008, pp. 3–4.

[27]. ibid.

[28]. ‘Georgia pulls out of air defense treaty with Russia’, RIA Novosti, 5 May 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008. 

[29]. ‘Georgia and Russia square off’, Jane’s Foreign Report, op. cit., p. 3.

[30]. ‘Georgia’s long hot summer’, Jane’s Foreign Report, op. cit., p. 3.

[31].  ‘EU Commission backs mediation between Russia, Georgia’, EU Business, 11 July 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008.

[32]. T. Wood, op. cit.

[33]. K. Noel, ‘Exercise Helps Partner Nations Overcome Cultural Barriers’, American Forces Press Service, 27 July 2008,, accessed on 1 September 2008.

[34]. T. Wood, op. cit.

[35]. D. Bzhalava, ‘Georgia Gearing Up for “Immediate Response”, Russia Flexing Mussels with “Caucasus Frontier 2008”’, The Georgian Times, 28 July 2008,, accessed on 2 September 2008.

[36]. ‘Putin: Russia will strike Georgia back’,, 8 August 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008.

[37]. G. Lomsadze, ‘Georgia: Treading Carefully on the Matter of Kosovo Independence’, Eurasia Insight, Eurasianet, 21 February 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008. See also T. de Waal, ‘Abkhaz leader presses independence claim’, Caucasus Reporting Service, no. 329, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, 2 March 2006,, accessed on 3 September 2008; S. Eke,  ‘Russia: Potential flashpoints’, BBC News, 8 September 2008,, accessed on 8 September 2008.

[38].  ‘Serbia, Russia Move to Annul Kosovo Independence’, Deutsche Welle, 18 February 2008,,2144,3133242,00.html, accessed on 3 September 2008.   

[39]. ‘Russian Parliament unlikely to recognise Abkhazia, S. Ossetia’, RIA Novosti, 22 April 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008.   

[40].   ‘Eventual NATO Membership Agreed, Action Plan Delayed’,, 3 April 2008,, accessed on 4 September 2008.  

[41]. ‘Georgia and Russia square off’, Jane’s Foreign Report, op. cit., pp. 3–4. NATO, ‘NATO Handbook: The Membership Action Plan’, 8 October 2002,, accessed on 3 September 2008. 

[42]. ‘Merkel: No MAP for Georgia for Now’,, 2 April 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008; ‘France against Georgia MAP’,, 1 April 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[43]. NATO, ‘NATO’s relations with Georgia’,, accessed on 5 September 2008; NATO, ‘Statement: Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Foreign Ministers held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels’, media release, 19 August 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[44]. The Associated Press, ‘Russia halts military cooperation with NATO’, MSNBC, 21 August 2008,, accessed on 4 September 2008.

[45]. NATO, ‘NATO–Russia Action Plan on Terrorism’, 9 December 2004,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[46]. OSCE, ‘OSCE Mission to Georgia’, 2008,, accessed on 11 September 2008.

[47]. OSCE, ‘Decision No. 861: Increasing the number of military monitoring officers in the OSCE mission to Georgia’, 728th Plenary Meeting of the Permanent Council, 19 August 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008.

[48]. OSCE, ‘OSCE Chairman condemns Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia, Abkhazia independence’, media release, 26 August 2008,, accessed on 4 September 2008.

[49]. Der Spiegel International, ‘The Chronicle to a Caucasian Tragedy: Part Two’, 25 August 2008,,1518,574812-2,00.html, accessed on 4 September 2008.

[50].  Amnesty International, Georgia, Russia: Suffering of civilians must stop and abuses must be investigated, media release, 14 August 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008; Human Rights Watch,  ‘Georgia’,,, accessed on 3 September 2008. 

[51]. The Associated Press,ICC prosecutor analysing alleged crimes in Georgia’, International Herald Tribune, 20 August 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008. 

[52].  ‘Medvedev says Moscow backed by CSTO over Russian–Georgian conflict’, China View, 6 September 2008,, accessed on 10 September 2008.

[53]. ‘Georgia seeks ‘AVO’ against Russia’, The Australian, 9 September 2008, p. 10.  

[54]. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Georgia: at least 128 000 people internally displaced by the renewed conflict, Norwegian Refugee Council, 21 August 2008,
, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[55]. UN, ‘Number of internally displaced rises in Georgia: UNHCR’, 12 September 2008,, accessed on 13 September 2008.

[56]. Reuters, ‘Russian rouble, stocks hurt by Georgia conflict’, 8 August 2008,
, accessed on 3 September 2008.

[57]. J. Rood (Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security), Briefing on the Missile Defence Agreement between US and Poland, US Department of State, 25 August 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[58]. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, ‘Joint Press Conference of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Sochi’, 15 August 2008,
, accessed on 4 September 2008.   

[59]. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, ‘Georgia: G7 Joint Statement’, 27 August 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008. 

[60]. Reuters, ‘Georgia fighting hurts Russia’s WTO bid’, 13 August 2008,, accessed on 6 September 2008.  

[61]. ‘Full text: Remarks by John McCain’, 2008 Republican National Convention, 4 September 2008,, accessed on 6 September 2008. 

[62].  S. Graham-Felsen, ‘Obama Statement on the Grave Situation in Georgia’, 8 August 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[63].  RIA Novosti, ‘US failure to restrain Georgia harmed Russian–US relations: Putin’, 28 August 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008. 

[64].  CNN, ‘Transcript: CNN interview with Vladimir Putin’, 29 August 2008,, accessed on 2 September 2008.

[65]. RIA Novosti, ‘Venezuela, Russia to hold joint naval drills in late November’, 8 September 2008,, accessed on 9 September 2008.

[66]. S. McCormack, Daily Press Briefing, US Department of State, 8 September 2008,, accessed on 9 September 2008.

[67]. Condoleezza Rice (US Secretary of State), ‘Statement on U.S.­-Russia 123 Agreement’, US Department of State, 8 September 2008,, accessed on 9 September 2008.

[68]. Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Background Note: Georgia, US Department of State,, accessed on 8 September 2008.

[69].  Condoleezza Rice (US Secretary of State), ‘Remarks on US Economic Support Package for Georgia’, US Department of State, 3 September 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008;  ‘Fact Sheet: US Support for Georgia’, The White House, 3 September 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[70]. International Monetary Fund, ‘IMF and Georgia discuss another $750 million loan package’, 3 September 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.  See also a related press release,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[71]. ‘US ready to give Georgia military assistance’, China View, 29 August 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[72]. UN, ‘Russia Calls for Arms Embargo against Georgia’, 10 September 2008,, accessed on 12 September 2008.

[73]. A. Lyon, ‘Georgia conflict imperils big-power action on Iran’, Reuters, 27 August 2008,, accessed on 2 September 2008

[74]. ‘UN Security Council at odds over Georgia conflict’, China View, 29 August 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[75]. Especially to Ukraine, Czech Republic and Germany, for instance. ‘EU/Russia: Summit signals no major policy shifts’, Oxford Analytica, 2 September 2008.

[76]. ‘EU agree position on the Caucasus conflict’, Federal Foreign Office (Germany), 1 September 2008,
, accessed on 5 September 2008. 

[77]. ‘Extraordinary European Council meeting on the situation in Georgia’,, 1 September 2008,, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[78]. ‘Georgia: EU Commission provides additional €5m in humanitarian aid’, European Union @ United Nations, http://www.europa-eu-un.ord/articles/en/article_8104_en.htm, accessed on 5 September 2008.

[79]. ‘EU pledges funds at Georgia Donor’s Conference’, European Union @ United Nations, 15 June 2004,, accessed on 3 September 2008; See also ‘Czech Government plans international donor conference for Georgia’, Official website of the Czech Republic, 26 August 2008,, accessed on 3 September 2008.

[80]. ‘EU FMs call for inquiry into Russo–Georgia conflict’,, 7 September 2008,, accessed on 7 September 2008.  

[81]. Council of the EU, ‘Joint Statement on the EU–Russia summit on the launch of negotiations for a new EU-Russia agreement’, media release, 27 June 2008,, accessed on 2 September 2008.

[82]. Council of the EU, ‘Address by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for CFSP to the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament’, 10 September 2008,, accessed on 13 September 2008.

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