Was South Ossetia’s fate sealed in Kosovo?

August 8, 2008

south-ossetia.jpgIs Kosovo to blame for the fighting in South Ossetia?

When the Serbian province seceded from Belgrade in February, South Ossetia was quick to reassert its own claim to international recognition.

As a spokeswoman for separatist leader Eduard Kokoity told Reuters at the time: “The Kosovo precedent has driven us to more actively seek our rights.”

Those remarks will not have gone unheard in Tblisi and could well have added some urgency to Georgia’s desire to impose its rule over breakaway South Ossetia.

With widespread Western backing, Kosovo was able to achieve a fairly clean break with its former ruler, despite Russian objections.

Now Moscow is backing the separatists and it’s far from clear how things will play out this time.
 

52 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

The troubles in South Ossetia and Abkhazia portray the lop-sided policies of the Western powers,if kosovo can be recognized as a nation, why not the two regions also? or was it because of their ties with Russia?.Russian therefore has the rigtht to defend his citizens since these hold Russian citizenship. Georgia should try to work towards peace for he is going to be the looser against the newly powerful Russia.

Kosovo has not achieved “a fairly clean break” with Serbia at all, that’s imperial wishful thinking. Kosovo is in practice a military protectorate of NATO and in law part of Serbia still. So factually it is not independent and its arrogant NATO masters do not have the right they claim to partition Serbia.

Only a minority of states have recognised Kosovo’s illegal pseudo-independence under NATO control.

Posted by Richard Cheeseman | Report as abusive

[...] other blogs, such as one from Reuters, examine the possibility that Georgian military action is directly related to Kosovo. Is Kosovo to blame for the fighting in South [...]

[...] Was South Ossetia’s fate sealed in Kosovo? August 8, 2008 Posted by verteta in CURRENT EVENTS, Kosova, RUSSIA. trackback Full Link : HERE  [...]

Unfortunately, self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo has brought this war, in very direct way. Western powers has completely ignored numerous warnings that “Kosovo will not be the unique case” because there are so many regions in the world that would plunge into chaos if every ethnic group demands its own “country”. Once you go down the path of illegality and disrespect of the international laws, as in case of Kosovo, the prospects seem quite ominous.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

No. This conflict has nothing to do with Kosovo. The Russian agressors, planned this even before and it’s not surprising the way South-Ossetian’s were ordered yesterday to shoot at the Georgian soldiers. Russia started this whole thing just to move in and say Georgians are doing “Ethnic Cleansing”, they are “Killing our soldiers”. Kosovo is just a political subject where those other places hang on. Russia uses Kosovo as a key-political issue to issue on Russia’s territories.

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

This article is a completely insult to the Kosovar people!!

You cannot possibly measure South Ossetia with a total areal land of 3,900 km² and a population of only 70 000! compared to Kosovos 10,900 km² and a total population of 2,1 million.

“With widespread Western backing, Kosovo was able to achieve a fairly clean break with its former ruler, despite Russian objections.”

A fairly clean break? Was the war in Kosovo a fairly clean break?

90% of the Kosovar people displaced during the ethnic cleansing and mmassacres of ethnic albanians. Is that a clean break?

Upon arrival 80% of the houses burned downed and destroyed, their businesses destroyed, family members dead – is that what you call a clean break?

Giles Elgood you should be ashamed of yourself!

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

These kind of comments are well expected.
Russians had this planned long ago. They used Kosovo’s independence as a pretext to continue ethnic cleansing on these regions in the exact same way as Serbia did to former yougoslavian republics.

It is very unfortunate these invasions and these tortures happen to people on the 21st century.

Posted by Arton Sallahi | Report as abusive

Ossetia: courtesy of V.Putin after US snatched Kosovo from Serbia, the price asked by Albania for the AMBO pipe line.

Asterix

Posted by Asterix | Report as abusive

It seems to me that there is more than just a little hypocrisy in the bleating heard from Washington over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The USA and NATO set the precedence for this sort of action by rebellious provinces. Did they really think there would be no consequences to their support of the Serbian province of Kosovo?

Posted by Richard Guenther | Report as abusive

South Ossetia is only proving the hypocrisy of Russia.

They opposed Kosovo’s independence because they said it may be used as a precedent. And then they became the first in trying to turn it in a precedent.

Georgia is not trying to twist South Ossetia’s arm, but Russia’s finger.

Kosovo is only being used as the most recent excuse for a long-term plan. Russia is now simly strong enough to push for it.

I am simply sorry for Georgia. Having a big bully for a neighbor is tough. Maybe they should just let Ossetia go. But, Russia will have to accept that it was they and not the West who made a precedent out of Kosovo.

Posted by Ruben | Report as abusive

I think russia this time is doing the right thing, protecting its interests in the region, considering that are many Russians living in Ossetia and knowing that Ossetians want to be part of Russia rather than Georgia.
It is the only option after EU an other supported Kosovo unilateral declaration of independence. What would US do if Miami want to become indepent and part of Cuba???

Posted by Cristian Muga | Report as abusive

Kosovo did not establish a precedent for South Ossetia. Pristina declared its independence only after the Brussels and Washington endorsed it. The only country supporting South Ossetia’s sovereignty is Russia – not the EU and not the United States. The breakaway Georgia province will not duplicate Kosovo’s example, unless the Washington, Brussels, and/or another international body such as NATO, supports it. The chances of that happening are all but nonexistent.

Matthew Kennedy
MA (Merit) Diplomatic Studies
Diplomatic Academy of London

Posted by Matthew Kennedy | Report as abusive

You might be interested in Georgian and Russian news sources in English and how Eastern European blogs react on the conflict:
http://demchenko.info/war-in-georgia-sou th-osetia-news-sources-and-new-media-act ivism/

Posted by Oleksandr | Report as abusive

Mr. Matthew Kennedy: Kosovo did not establish a precedent for South Ossetia. Pristina declared its independence only after the Brussels and Washington endorsed it.

Did any of those ask Serbia for permission, let me remind you that Serbian borders are UN recognized borders and resolution 1244 states that Kosovo IS integral part of Serbia or (according to you) anyone should ask Brussels and Washington`s permission and declare independence,i ask you whats the purpose of UN security council?
i`m sorry sir but USA and EU can not dictate the world ,that’s why world agreed on UN,and yes Ossetia is in same position as Kosovo your fact distorting post did1nt prove any other way

Posted by Tetoec | Report as abusive

You ARE right!

Posted by AlfaX | Report as abusive

The situations couldn’t be more different. In the case of Kosovo, it was the majority Albanian population that went though the golgotha of the Serbian criminal state. In the case of Georgia, it’s S. Ossetians that ethnically cleansed the majority local Georgian population before they established their autonomy.

Despite what Ossetians have stated, it is the Russian state that is enabling the new conflict out of the fear of NATO’s eastern expansion. This conflict has geopolitical earmarks stemming out of Russia’s new found power and nothing to do with the Kosovar precedent, which allegedly Russia itself is against.

The Western hypocrisy, arrogance and double standards are starting to backfire.

Posted by MRT | Report as abusive

Nato’s unprovoked attack on Yugoslavia in support of Kosovo’s KLA-led armed uprising may have been based on a Western strategic agenda, but it endangered world peace — as is proven, in China and elsewhere. No doubt that more regions will follow. :-(

Posted by JJ | Report as abusive

South Osseta could care less about sovereignty, autonomy, or independence… it simply wishes to rejoin russia taking a hunk of georgia along with it.

russia knows very well its lost influence in the region and has been more than happy to keep things simmering in order to keep georgia unstable and to clearly deter it from Joining NATO.

In the case of Kosovo and the Albanian majority…they DID become independent, not for the sake of becoming american citizens or even joining with neigboring Albania. Yugoslavia Dissolved… Seven …count em… Seven Countries have been formed thanks to serb criminals abysmall failure to dominate what was yugoslavia (with russia ironically, backing every serb nutjob along the way).

It is an Extremely different situation within georgia, any “parallels” you can find is either wishfull thinking or feigned ignorance.

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

@Tetoec

first of, the word “integral” is desperate serb addition whenever speaking of 1244…it does not exist in 1244.

Yugoslavia dissolved…serbs with their wonderful leader slobodan milosovic attempted to declare themselves the inheritors of the former yugoslavia…they Were Refused and told to re-apply.

The Federal Republic of Yugoslavinotinstead of continuing, the membership of the old Yugoslavia…and later with the exit of montenegro simply changed names to the current Republic of Serbia.

It is YOUNGER than the paper 1244 is written, and formed AFTER nato bombings that removed serb control in 1999.

The UN did not(and rightly so) use this readmission of yugoslavia into the UN… after they already lost control of kosovo as an excuse for either party to STOP talking.

and for nearly a Decade…all serbia offered to kosovo (politicaly speaking) was to become quite literally a colony..and had the audacity to think the west would greenlight an apartheid state… and yes, when you dont allow people representation in the legislative branch of the country..that is the very definition of apartheid.

And given the choice…its pretty obvious that independence was the only way it would end…and NO, nobody asked serbia or needed to ask serbia for permission on Independence…they had nearly a decade to stop deluding themselves they were a reincarnation of a dead mythological empire…they took themselves out of the equation.

The offer of apartheid is the dirty little secret serbs dont like to speak of. OF COURSE the US and EU would not accept that. And Despite the constant prattle of “they should have continued negotiating” by russia and china … Neither of them EVER publicly put forth plan outlining exactly what they thought a supposed solution should be.. odd considering they are Permanent members of the security council. But then again…publicly admitting they are a-ok with recognizing a totalitarian apartheid state doesnt make for good p.r.

Posted by Adam | Report as abusive

To the people attacking Russia for supporting South Ossetia here– yes, there may be differences between South Ossetia and Kosovo and yes, Russia may have planned some of this before.

But in international relations, realpolitik and diplomacy are what counts, and in this regard, the USA, UK, and Australia were utterly idiotic to fantasize that, in going ahead to recognize Kosovo (something that has given them absolutely nothing in terms of strategic gain but tremendous costs as a NATO protectorate), that others like South Ossetia would follow the example. You cannot start a precedent like that and expect others to ignore it in their cases!

The simple fact is, whether we like it or not, international law– under UN Resolution 1244– unequivocally places Kosovo within Serbia, and the vast majority of the world’s nations have not recognized Kosovo. This includes big democracies like Brazil and India, as well as other Muslim countries like Egypt and Indonesia, even US allies like the Philippines. The rest of the world isn’t stupid, unlike the British and American leaders, who seem to be absolutely clueless on the subtle lessons of diplomacy and history.

For what it’s worth, this is soon going to bite us in the rear end as well. Scotland is pushing for independence, as has Northern Ireland for decades– even Wales will follow Scotland’s example, so the UK itself is breaking up. In the USA, the native Hawaiians have been advocating for independence since the 1870′s when the US overthrew and occupied the native queen. So have the Lakota Sioux– they’ve declared independence outright. Same with Latinos in the Southwest USA (Aztlan and the situation after the Mexican War). Even Vermonters, Floridians, Alaskan Aleuts and others have been pushing for this. It’s a Pandora’s Box that will destroy the United Kingdom and United States of America themselves.

Posted by Evil Eye | Report as abusive

This is exactly why the US and NATO should not have broken international law by recognizing kosovo as an independent country. It is illegal, immoral, and threatens world peace. The last one is just beginning to unfold.

The U.S. and NATO can NOT pick and choose which laws it will obey and ignore from one case to another. When they do, people die, today it is in South Ossetia, where will it be tomorrow? I can think of a half dozen places that will soon be on this path off the top of my head.

Posted by Joe Annonymous | Report as abusive

West and western media are so biased that it actually makes me physically sick.

In Kosovo NATO was protecting “liberation armies” and “oppressed people” from ethnic cleansing, so why not level the oppressor to the ground. Let’s bomb evil Serbia for trying to try and keep it’s territory and keep it’s sovereignty.

And now Georgia is fighting “separatists” on it’s territory, “rightfully” trying to keep it’s country whole. In the process they kill peace keepers and civilians. Where is righteous NATO now? Why don’t they intervene and bomb evil Georgia for doing the same thing as Serbia did?

Oh, but they won’t. Why should they? They intervene when it serves their purpose. They wave international rights flag in one flag and destructive war machinery in the other.

At the end just one more thing… Even Roman Empire fell down in the end.

Posted by Marko | Report as abusive

The resurgent fascist dictatorship of the new Russia is now beginning to bloom and it is a dark, poisonous bloom that threatens the entire region.

Putin is the most dangerous psycopathic megalomaniac to emerge from Europe since Hitler.

Make no mistake – Russia intends to extend its empire by annexing whatever country it desires.

I predict a third world war when Russia attenpts to forcefully take back all it’s former Russian states, one by one.

This titanic, monstrous creation that is embodied in Putin will probably lead not only to Russia’s total destruction, but also to the destruction of mainland Europe – or much of it – via a nuclear confrontation.

We are now entering the world’s most dangerous poriod in its entire history.

Only the removal of the Russian government will stop this horrific resurgence of fascist madness.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

a strategy that give the best advantage for Russia to take this teritory .

Posted by Burca Alice Larisa | Report as abusive

I cannot believe Georgians are dumb enough to do what they tried to do. It’s amazing to me to think that Georgians actually though this adventure is going to go well. Stupidity of that move is just stunning in its gravity.

Kosovo is cleverly used as a bargaining chip by Serbia to get its 49% share of Bosnia in exchange for Kosovo. Everyone is going to get tired in a few years’ time and decide to settle things once and for all.

On the other hand, Russia uses South Ossetia to show the world, like the US, that you cannot screw with them without suffering consequences.

Posted by Brad Freeman | Report as abusive

Dear Reuters Bloggers,

Please, Please see the bigger picture here. Georgia has for many years tried to a-line itself to a more pro-western democratic society. It deeply angered Russia many years ago. Do you really think that Georgia would risk the outcry of the western world after working so hard. Abkhazian and Ossetians have Georgian blood!!! Russia has stopped Georgian exports and closed borders. For many Abkhazians and Ossetians who have loved ones in Russia were handed no choice but to accept Russian passports. Now this is being used. If this was about protection of a certain area, why are they bombing Poti, Gori, Abkhazia and military interests outside Tbilisi and the Baku-Tbilisi Pipeline? There have been various threats both active and passive for the last year. Georgia may be a small outpost on the silk road, but it has a big heart. I hope those who have helped create this war are shown the right paths to protect lives. Thank you

Posted by M Anon, | Report as abusive

@Adam
You are speaking as you were EU or US diplomat,again failing to answer the question “why Kosovo was allowed Independence?”
i`m form former YUG, and the Constitution of the SFRJ ( if you read it ) states that SFRJ is consistent of 6 REPUBLICS and 2 AUTONOMOUS ares within Serbia which have no right to succeed ( they are part of Serbian territory) ,according to that constitution all six republic succeeded , Kosovo was not allowed because was under Serbian Constitution, thus meaning that Serbia decides for her own territory ,as i know under that Constitution SFRJ was admitted in UN , and UN knows very well as America too that Kosovo is Serbian territory,thus braking the international law by allowing Kosovo to proclaim self independence .
let me put it this way all 6 Republics were same as as any state in US , they had their own Constitution, national flags,anthem,coat of arms ,on the other hand Kosovo had none of this they were under Serbian flag!

Posted by Tetoec | Report as abusive

The Russians have been waiting for their “Sudetanland” moment ever since they limped out of Kabul.Being true to form they pounce on the weak .If this was a program on Animal Planet it would be titled ” Day of the Hyena”.A nagging question for me is why such an obvious overreach on Saakashvilis’ part?Unless he is an “agent in place” “acting up” on cue for his masters.

What I’m seeing from BBC and CNN is the half-truth.
The one and the only truth is that Saakashvili is the military criminal. He is responsible for genocide is South Ossetia. He is responsible for shooting at innocent people and peacekeepers. He is next to Mussolini and Hitler.

Just look here. I have nothing to add…
http://osinform.ru/foto/7343-zhertvy-obs trela-juzhnojj-osetii.html

Posted by Polaris | Report as abusive

Bravo Giles Elgood and Reuters for showing courage by inviting open discussion on this critical and crucial topic.

Yes, Kosovo is a template for all other oppressed nations. One cannot be “partially pregnant”. You either recognize the right of every ethnic group which population was killed and wounded by the country of which they are technically part (like Kosovo, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Kurdistan, now Northern Kosovo, etc.) to break away or you are a blatant hypocrite.

Every freedom loving person in the world is happy for Kosovo and all the other small nations that will now emerge. Of course, powerful countries will try to stop some of them sometimes, but here all depends on the situation. Russia was successful in stopping Chechnya from breaking away. Serbia was not successful in stopping Kosovo from breaking away.

US and EU could try to send troops to Georgia to fight against Russians, but I am interested in seeing how many people reading this blog think it is realistic.

On the other hand, I hope some small peoples will seize the opportunity, use the Kosovo precedent and gain freedom!

Vive Kosovo, vive South Ossetia, vive Abkhazia, vive Kurdistan!

Posted by Paul Carville | Report as abusive

[...] “a pretext for Russian action against American allies,” specifically in the Caucasus. And so it did, with Vladimir Putin retaliating for Kosovar independence by setting in motion the events that led [...]

First of all let’s us to take a history lessons what needed for some commentators… What was Georgia and Osetia before 1922??? It was two different regions inside Russian empire…Fully independent from each other…
In 1922, Communist party and personally Lenin and Stalin, made decision and divided Osetia in two pieces, north and south…North become a part of Russia, south was taken by Georgians…Nobody from communist party ever ask peoples of Osetia agree they’re to be divided or not…Dividing of Osetia was illegal at all…Now, after almost century peoples of Osetia wanted to be independent again… And they have rights to do so…
Almost same story was happened with another piece of Georgia – Abhasia… They also was independent until Stalin personally cancel by force their independence…That is a story… So some commentators should learn history before post comments about something overseas…Some Americans do not know own history, but trying to judge somebody’s….
All nations have rights to choose whom they’re trust and who they want to be their friends…
GOD BLESS OSETIANS AND THEIR FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE !!!!! GOD BLESS ABHASIANS AND THEIR FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE ALSO !!!!

Posted by Alexander | Report as abusive

The Truth Is…

Right, right…fascist dictatorship. That’s a good one.

When Russia is protecting the interests of its citizens, its fascist. When America goes to war with some Middle-Eastern country (read: Iraq and Afghanistan), its for peace, freedom and liberation. May I ask if the Iraqi people are given American citizenship? The Russian Federation gave the South Ossetians citizenship and they accepted it. Naturally, when they are forcefully attacked, Russia will respond.

Russia was even farsighted enough to evacuate women and children out of the conflict zone before the Georgian military operation, is that fascist? I believe that the US didn’t do that when they began launching Tomahawks and cluster bombs into Iraq and Afghanistan.

Your double standards imposed is of clear bias, so please, before you go label some country as “fascist” or “second to Hitler”, look at what they are trying to do to avoid civilian casualties first.

Posted by Maurice | Report as abusive

Everybody tries to blame Russia but hey, we are all evil. As far as I remember US was also protecting it’s people after September the 11th by invading Afghanistan. After that US invaded Iraq by claiming that it has weapons of mass distraction. Have they found it? Not even close. How many civilians have been killed during the US invasion and how many people will be killed? I know only one thing, if Russia didn’t do anything like the security council. There would be no South Ocetia by now. I know people who lived in Abhazia, when Georgian forces have invaded the region, 15 years later they still cannot recover. You don’t use heavy artillery against civilians but that’s exactly what Georgians did. Georgia would have never invaded South Ocetia if it didn’t have some kind of support from other nations.

Posted by Igor | Report as abusive

The attack on Georgia is the Kremlin/KGB/FIS way of reminding the West that they may have lost the Cold War and their empire but what was lost can be regained. 140 Million Russians are still a powerful force. The Baltic states should be building their defenses; Col. Putin has begun to reclaimed lost “glories” and how many people he murders will not keep him awake at night. Europe will have to ask how much do they need Russian gas and the Russians believe they need it bad enough to let them regain the Evil Empire.

Wast should atak Russia, Russia can not do what west can – remmeber Serbia. If bombing Serbua was a fairly clean break with its former ruler serbia, despite Russian objections. bombing Gorgia is a fairly clean break with its former ruler Gorgia, despite West objections.

Georgia was wrong to invade South Ossetia if the great majority of its people wanted separation from Georgia. Whether it is Kosovo, Abkhazia, Chechnya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Kurdistan or Darfur, the principles of self-determination and freedom should take precedence over old borders determined by colonial powers and wars. Referendums should be held, with changes based on a supermajority (60+ %) of a well-defined region. Nations should follow the examples of Slovakia and Slovenia and separate peacefully. I think Russia can use the NATO positions in Kosovo to justify its protection of Ossetians, but I hope that Russia will not go beyond Ossetia to remove freedom from the Georgian people.

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

I have been in contact with my daughter in georgia; the Russians are now in the punishment phase of their attack. The Russians clearly set the Georgians up by creating a disturbance with the Ossetian Forces and then connterattacking with forces that were pre-positioned for an attack. The same in Abkhasia. Putin is making a point and people will die for him to make it. The rest of the former USSR Republics should prepare for the next boot to fall.

The Russian reaction seems similar to the way Israel invaded Lebanon on a minor provocation in 2006. Like the Israel attack it was planned in advance and the bombing targets have became economic as well as military. Also like the Israel attack it is carried out in summer at the height of the tourist season, and the US blocked a ceasefire so Israel could hit all their targets. I wonder if the Russians will dump many tons of cluster munitions before they leave?

Posted by Chris Baker | Report as abusive

The count of Tskhinvali civilians killed by Georgian bombardment and ethnical cleansing that began on Friday the 8th of August is now 2000. Obviously this figure is not final as efforts are now chiefly concentrated on saving those who are still alive and remain under the rubble of houses.
Russian introduced new forces in South Ossetia on the 9th of August (the next day) to stop the complete assassination of the South Ossetian people in Tskhinvali, after Georgian forces broke through the demarcation line established in 1992. Presently, the city is in ruins and desperate efforts are being made by Russia to accommodate and offer medical assistance to the civilian population of South Ossetia. 34 thousand residents of South Ossetia have fled to North Ossetia (Russian Territory) to find refugee from the acridities that they had faced during the recent days. Stories of South Ossetian eye witnesses are horrendous revealing numerous cases of overt slaughter of children, women, aged and disabled seeking shelter in underground basement of houses into which Georgian soldiers threw hand grenades. The basements of houses were the only shelter from the incessant shelling of residential districts by heavy mortar and rocket fire.
The military infrastructure of Georgia was attacked by Russian aircraft following Georgia’s use of aircraft, heavy artillery, and rocket units in its destruction of Tskhinvali. Russian troops crossed the border of South Ossetia on the 9th of August to enforce its peacekeeping contingent following the assassination of 12 of its peacekeepers and the remorseless destruction of civilian population in Tskhinvali that began a day before. Russian forces now proceed to extrude all Georgian military forces beyond the demarcation line established in 1992. No bombing of Georgian cities as claimed by Georgian news reports and strongly supported by the western media have taken place other than the areas containing Georgian military infrastructure in which case some unavoidable damage has occurred to civilian buildings.
Russia has announced that it will address The Hague court as Georgia’s action abrogated international law. The murder of thousands of South Ossetians “citizen of Georgia” is nothing other than pure ethnical cleansing and was intended to drive the people of South Ossetia off its territory and deprive it of any signs of Ossetians. Georgia for Georgians was the motto of the former Georgian president Gamsakhudi that began the slaughter in 1992 and it remains the slogan of Saakashvili today.

Regretfully, lop sided information is reaching the western world claiming Russian troops are attacking Georgia. Little or no mention is made of why Russia introduced additional forces in South Ossetia. Russia’s peacekeeping contingent was twelve times outmatched in number and lacked any heavy weapon systems compared to the well prepared intruding Georgian military forces. The limited contingents of Russian peacekeepers was not capable of stopping the massacre of civilians in Tskhinvali nor protect its own limited contingent that was attacked by a squall of rocket blasts in the first minutes of the attack.
127 US military instructors engaged in the training of Georgian military contingent, prier to the beginning of the onslaught on South Ossetia, are now speedily leaving the country. Georgia has increased its military expenditures in the recent years by 30 times mainly assisted by gratuitous US support.

The heated polemics supporting Georgia’s becoming a member of NATO have received a clear answer. Russia will never allow any maniac to terrify or murder the people of South Ossetia or Abkhazia and will do all to restore peace on these war torn territories. Just recently, the prime minister of Russia Mr. Putin has put forward a bid of 500 million US dollars to restore the dwellings, schools, kindergartens, hospitals and infrastructure of South Ossetia totally destroyed by the Georgian bombardment.
Presently, the aim of Russian troops is to impel Georgian military forces to return to the demarcation line established and approved by the UN and sign an agreement forbidding all use of weapons.
Georgians are limited in their information sources as opposing TV channels have been closed down and Russia internet sites providing their account of the happenings have been cut off.

Posted by valentine | Report as abusive

It has nothing at all to with how big Kosovo is, and how small South Ossetia. The fact is the territorial integrity of a country, namely Serbia, was violated causing an extremely dangerous precedent. Therefore, stop comparing the size of each! It has nothing to do with the precedent set in motion by the US and the EU. Same facts so get over it!! The US can’t say Kosovo is a unique case this just doesn’t sit with separatist aspirations.

The Americans HAVE opened the Pandora’s Box through their ignorance – serves them right!! Furthermore, it’s good to see the western powers stating that the territorial integrity of Georgia must be respected! What about the territorial integrity of Serbia??!! Disgusting hypocrites!! Just remember US, Russia is not Iraq or Serbia, the US can’t even control a bunch of insurgents, and they want give Russia a warning?? Give me a break! Get over it America you’ve caused this mess once again!!

It’s obvious that McCain hates the Russians – the Russians are just getting ready.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

All that “hyper super isteria” in US really powerfull level of guys (and closed to them servants) has very simple reason. During all 90th they were very sure that the world is belongs to them, and friendly speaking, were too close to the truth. Times changed… They just start to handle somehow with the fact that China ALREADY on the nearly same level of power like US, and shows the further growth. And now they faced the “nightmare form the past” – Russia…Hey, guys, world become too difficult for your mind, isn’t it?

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

[...] provide “a pretext for Russian action against American allies,” specifically in the Caucasus. And so it did, with Vladimir Putin retaliating for Kosovar independence by setting in motion the events that led [...]

[...] Elgood wrote a post titled “Was South Ossetia’s fate sealed in Kosovo?” in which he wondered: Is Kosovo to blame for the fighting in South Ossetia? When the Serbian province seceded from [...]

Viva Independent Republika Srpska!

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

Everyone is talking of Georgia being a sovereign country that is correct, Serbia is a sovereign country and the UN and USA supported the breakaway of Kosovo, therefore South Ossetia and any other province should have the right to breakaway. George Bush stop being a hypocrit and stop the double standards. What applies to one applies to all. America wants to be the world watch dog let Russia be the watch dog in the caucuses, the world needs two superpowers to keep the balance. I support the Russian comeback!

Posted by teejay | Report as abusive

If the US is that powerful, let them send troops to save freedom loving Georgia against Russia. The EU and US know , on Russia turf, they will be crushed. Therefore, no one dares talking military actions. Russia picks up first victory since the end of the cold war. A powerful message is sent to France, Britain and of course US.

Posted by Et | Report as abusive

Kosovo is similar to Georgia but, North Mitrovica is similar to South Ossetia.
As the United States Institute for Peace says, “No solution for Kosovo can last without a solution for Mitrovica.”

Posted by Saratov | Report as abusive

Serbia was bombed 78 days by NATO states, even center of Belgrade, far away from war zone in order to save Albanians on Kosovo. 2,500 Serb died in bombings. Kosovo was cut off from Serbia after 1000 years. Now, when Russia is bombing Georgia in order to safe Ossetian people, western media repeats that this is crime, attack on democratic country…. Serb will wait the final resolution of Russian-Georgian problem and learn lesson. Serb will not forget Kosovo.

Posted by Dex | Report as abusive

Re: S. Ossetia

S. Ossetia has the right to be independent if it so chooses.
This would apply to any state in the United States if it so chose. The problem is that Georgia, Russia, and the U.S. all have different motives for their positions regarding S. Ossetia. Other than that I see the current track Russia is taking as one of an imature child. They are willing to kill and have their soldiers killed over pride. I.E. their desire to be a primary player on the world stage. They would have this if they developed theirselves as an economic powerhouse as China is doing.

Posted by michael | Report as abusive

To Et
Grow up both sides would be bloodied beyond recognition. I.E. Russia and U.S. Do you want this over vanity and pride?

Posted by michael | Report as abusive

It’s good to see that most of you finally are changing your mind about this crisis as time goes by. In the beginning western news chanells showed the story as they wanted to see it. On the 8th they have only one story: Russians invaded Georgia. Now they show poor people in Gori (which is not destroyed, were russians helped to keep the order and from which georgian officials ran away). Why don\’t they show pictures from Osetia? Why don’t they talk to osetia and abhazian people? Why don’t you listen to another party?
Were is the so called \”western\” democracy? Stop listen to the US leaders! THINK YOURSELF!!

Posted by Russian | Report as abusive

To Russian

The Russian government still used very extreme measures not only in support of S. Ossetia, but revised its goal to continue to intimidate Georgia through its continued presence on Georgia’s soil outside S. Ossetia. Russia did not bring this whole situation to the UN before it acted. At least the US acts in concert with UN authority or after it has exhausted its efforts to resolve an utilizing the UN. Comparison on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the least warning and 10 the most. U.S. gives 7-10 while Russia gives 2-4.
In the 1980s, I admired the USSR as a worthy potential adversary, and recently Russia as a powerful growing democracy. Now, the way Putin has returned to the old ways of succession depriving the Russian people of true representation just makes me angry. Russian freedom in the press has disintegrated and intimidation of opposing views are less and less tolerated. Putin’s response to dissent both internal and external has turned from dialog to intimidation much like its Mafia which most probably has inserted itself into the Russian politic.
All countries time on earth ebb and flow. Their greatness is not solely determined on their physical strength, but on how they treat both their citizens and other nations. In retrospect, none have been or are perfect, but its the degree and consistency with which they apply these factors that determines their ultimate greatness.
Nations such as China, European Union, Russia and the US should work together for global stability and ensure that complete human rights are protected in every corner of the earth. Doing so will prevent these very governments from having to fear dissent.

Posted by michael | Report as abusive

[...] who had never paid attention to either region before, as this Reuters blog post would suggest: Was South Ossetia’s fate sealed in Kosovo? …When the Serbian province seceded from Belgrade in February, South Ossetia was quick to reassert [...]

Giles, in your report of “Under-fire Saakashvili defends Georgia war” you “But at the time, there was no public statement from the Georgian leadership that Russian forces were invading. The shelling of Tskhinvali after a ceasefire of several hours and the subsequent ground assault was justified as a response to rebel shelling of Georgian villages.”
What story have you been following?
Please see Saakashvili’s interviews that he gave to international media (CNN, BBC) immediately following the start of the conflict. He clearly says that he decided to mobilize the troops AFTER he got intelligence of Russian troops crossing the border. Please, revise the article at once.

Posted by Zee | Report as abusive