During the week prior to the South Ossetia attack, Russian troops conducted a military exercise with one strategy being a hypothetical attack made by unnamed forces on Georgia’s province of South Ossetia. The attack involved more than 8,000 troops and the aim was to protect “Russian citizens” and offer humanitarian aid. The scenario was considered as a threat of invasion by the Georgian Foreign Ministry. In result Georgia conducted its own military exercise consisting of about 1,000 US troops, 600 Georgian troops, and token forces from Ukraine, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
It was in South Ossetia that tensions escalated, when an Ossetian village police chief was killed by a bomb and the head of the pro – Georgian government escaped injury from a road side mine. That night both the South Ossetians and the Georgians launched artillery attacks on each other’s villages and check points resulting in about a dozen killed or wounded. Calls for both sides to show restraint and resume peace talks were issued by the European Union, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.
Georgia’s explanation of the attack was that “they were left with no other options after an increasing number of attacks from separalist in South Ossetia. ” In response Russian President Medvedev declared a state of war upon Georgia, claiming that ‘women, children and the elderly are now dying in South Ossetia” and that “most of them are citizens of the Russian Federation. ” He also stated “those who are responsible will be duly punished. Through mediation by the French presidency of the European Union, the parties reached a preliminary ceasefire agreement on 12 August, signed by Georgia on 15 August in Tbilisi and by Russia on 16 August in Moscow. Several weeks after signing the ceasefire agreement, Russia began pulling most of its troops out of uncontested Georgia. Russia established buffer zones around South Ossetia and created checkpoints in Georgia's interior. These forces were eventually withdrawn from uncontested Georgia.
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