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HUMANITARIAN CATASTROPHE
IN SOUTH OSSETIA

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SHORT CHRONOLOGY,
Peacekeeping Operation to Force Georgia to Peace

7 August 2008

00.40 - 00.57 - Georgian side opens cannon artillery fire on the SARABUKI and DMENISI area.

01.00 - Georgian armed forces command takes a decision to muster militiamen.

02.13 - Georgian artillery opens fire from the KERE area at TSKHINVALI.

09.40 - UBIATI comes under mortar shelling.

14.30 - Georgian officers leave the Combined Headquarters (CHQ) of the Joint Peacekeeping Force (JPKF) location. Duty stations abandoned by observers from the Georgian side.

14.45 - Mortar shelling of NULI and AVNEVI.

15.43 - 16.15 - Georgian armed forces units in AVNEVI fire from cannon artillery, tanks and IFVs towards KHETAGUROVO; fire attacks delivered on the SVERI and ZEMO-NIKOZI area and on the southeastern outskirts of TSKHINVALI.

19.00 - Shelling of TSKHINVALI.

23.30 - Commander of peacekeeping operations at the Joint Staff of Georgian Armed Forces Brig. Gen. MAMUKA KURASHVILI announces the start of combat operations against “Ossetian separatists.”

23.40 - A massive fire attack on TSKHINVALI begins.

8 August 2008

02.30 - Georgian AF units capture MUGUTI and start an offensive operation in two directions: MUGUTI, AVNEVI and KHETAGUROVO and MUGUTI, ZEMO-NIKOZI and TSKHINVALI.

04.15 - Firing on TSKHINVALI from multiple launch rocket systems begins. Georgian armed forces (tank units) fired by direct laying at the JPKF CHQ and peacekeeping battalion locations.

06.00 - On the city’s southern outskirts Georgian units assume the offensive.

07.40 - Georgian air force delivers an air strike on the DZHAVA cantonment and DIDI GUPTA Village.

11.00 - Security Council of South Ossetia asks Russia for help.

11.20 - General mobilization declared in Georgia.

11.54 - In TSKHINVALI Georgian AF units, having seized the Yuzhny peacekeeping battalion cantonment, fought for the cantonment Severny.

The Russian PKF battalion at Severny (upper) cantonment beat off 5 attacks and continued to fight. Its losses were: 2 men killed and 5 men wounded.

The Government House of the Republic of South Ossetia destroyed, and the state command center moved to the JPKF CHQ area.

14.30 - Under these conditions the Russian Federation was forced to reinforce its peacekeeping troops within the JPKF (with units of the 693rd and 135th Motorized Rifle Regiments of the 19th Motorized Rifle Division) in order to carry out the peacekeeping tasks laid upon Russia, as well as to defend Russian citizens in South Ossetia.

22.00 - Reinforcement units: 1/693rd MRR as it advances toward the blocked peacekeepers in the JAVA-TSKHINVALI sector fights a battle with Georgian units (up to an infantry battalion with a tank company) 6 km northeast of TSKHINVALI; 1/135th MRR digs in on TSKHINVALI’s northern outskirts.

The creation of a task force completed in the JAVA area (a motorized rifle battalion of the 693rd MRR, 141st separate tank battalion, a 239th separate reconnaissance battalion, and 292nd self-propelled artillery regiment of the 19th Motorized Rifle Division) to render assistance to (relieve) the peacekeeping battalion.

9 August 2008

00.00 - Broadcasting of all Russian television channels on the territory of Georgia terminated. Voice of America radio doubles its broadcasting frequency.

01.25 - The main force of the Georgian body of troops leaves TSKHINVALI and tries to dig in 2 km south of the city.

05.30 - 4 combat ships of the Black Sea Fleet move to the OCHAMCHIRA disembarkation area.

08.00 - Martial law declared in Georgia for 15 days.

13.59 - Artillery shelling of the city of TSKHINVALI.

15.00 - Georgian artillery fires on columns of South Ossetian refugees as they move along the Zar Road and on reinforcement units of peacekeeping forces of Russia. Georgian units consisting of a mechanized battalion of an infantry brigade and a national guard battalion with artillery support undertook from the southern direction an assault attempt on the positions of the peacekeeping battalion of the 135th Motorized Rifle Regiment.

15.20 - After regrouping, Georgian units undertook a new assault attempt on TSKHINVAL.

Suffered losses in the fighting and withdrew to the ZEMO-NIKOZI, TBETI, KHETAGUROVO AND PRISI areas.

17.10 - 5 Georgian Navy boats move from POTI Port towards the Port of OCHAMCHIRA.

19.12 - As they closed with Black Sea Fleet ships, the approaching Georgian Navy boats did not respond to any signals and inquiries, and ignored the demands to leave the security zone. After warning shots the small antisubmarine ship Kasimov and the small missile boat Mirazh stroke with their weapons at the violator boats, after which the latter left the security zone.

10 August 2008

01.07 - Disembarkation of a battalion tactical group (BTG), 108th Amphibian Assault Regiment, 7th Amphibian Assault (Mountain) Division, from the large landing ship Tsezar Kunnikov completed.

03.34 - Georgian artillery continues striking at columns of units of Russian armed forces advancing along the Zar Road.

06.30 - Disembarkation of a BTG, 108th Amphibian Assault Regiment, 7th Amphibian Assault (Mountain) Division, from the large landing ship Saratov completed.

08.00 - The 108th Amphibian Assault Regiment, 7th Amphibian Assault (Mountain) Division, concentrates in the TEPLICHNY KOMBINAT (Greenhouse Enterprise) area (8 km northeast of OCHAMCHIRA); a BTG of the 31st Separate Amphibian Assault Brigade moved to BABUSHARA Airport.

10.00 - Georgian units firing on convoys with wounded, not allowing the Red Cross to conduct evacuation.

17.53 - Ukrainian authorities warn that the Black Sea Fleet ships may be denied return to SEVASTOPOL.

20.10 - Units of the 108th Amphibian Assault Regiment, 7th Amphibian Assault (Mountain) Division, raise the blockade of the bridge over the river INGURI.

During 24 hrs - Formations and units of the Georgian armed forces (1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th infantry brigades, an artillery brigade, and a separate radio technical battalion) continued to conduct local operations for the capture of the territory of the Republic of South Ossetia.

Mobilization of Georgian national guard reservists continued.

11 August 2008

03.00 - The last units of the 3rd and 4th infantry brigades of the Georgian armed forces leave TSKHINVALI.

05.00 - US C-17A aircraft deliver 800 Georgian troops and 80 tons of cargo from AL KUT, Iraq, to NOVOALEXEYEVKA Airport.

12.00 - Formations and units of Russian armed forces start assuming control of a security zone.

15.20 - Three Georgian Su-25 jets strike at areas of TLIAKANI, KVARNETI, KEKHVI, and EREDVI Villages. One plane shot down.

15.30 - Staff of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) withdrawn from Kodori Valley in Abkhazia, UN Assistant Secretary General Edmond Mulet reported.

18.00 - 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment with a BTG of the 234th Amphibian Assault Regiment and 693rd Motorized Rifle Regiment with a BTG of the 104th Amphibian Assault Regiment reach the GORI area and assume the defensive along the SAKASHETI, VARIANI and KARALETI LINE.

Units of the 108th Amphibian Assault Regiment and of the 526th and 558/131st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades blocked ZUGDIDI.

21.40 - Concentration of personnel of the 1st Infantry Brigade that had arrived from Iraq noticed at the Georgian armed forces’ training center in GORI.

12 August 2008

06.00 - Georgian AF start restoring the combat power of, and regrouping troops.

SENAKI blocked by units of the 108th Amphibian Assault Regiment, 7th Amphibian Assault (Mountain) Division.

07.00 - Units of the 247th Amphibian Assault Regiment, 7th Amphibian Assault (Mountain) Division, start advancing from NABAKEVI to occupy the passes TABARI, KHONI and KALAMARI-SUKI (east of Kodori Valley) on the routes of possible advance of Georgian units.

12.00 - Georgian armed forces take up defensive positions, concentrating major efforts on holding GORI.

12.30 - Russian armed forces units (70th Motorized Rifle Regiment with a BTG of the 234th Amphibian Assault Regiment and 693rd Motorized Rifle Regiment with a BTG of the 104th Amphibian Assault Regiment) reach the northern outskirts of GORI.

12.45 - The President of the Russian Federation announces completion of the operation to force Georgia to peace.

13.00 - The leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense takes a decision to suspend the further advance of Russian forces.

18.30 - The Presidents of Russia and France voice the principles for resolving the conflict.

23.25 - Small antisubmarine ship Suzdalets spots a high-speed group target moving from the POTI direction. The target did not respond to an inquiry. A warning salvo was fired from an AK-630. The target lays smoke screens, turns back and disappears.

13 August 2008

- Russian armed forces units conducted no combat actions; they pressed back a group of Georgian troops from the security zone and blocked the conflict area. Provided conditions for delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population.

03.00 - Aircraft made air/radar reconnaissance and escorted truck convoys with humanitarian cargo.

09.00 - In the Kodori Valley area Georgian armed forces units surrender their arms and withdraw from the valley. Abkhazian armed forces units conduct search operations there.

12.00 - The President of Georgia agrees to the main items of the Russian-French plan for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. Georgian armed forces continued the withdrawal of troops (1st, 3rd and 4th Infantry Brigades) towards TBILISI.

18.40 - The US President announces the “beginning of a humanitarian mission to Georgia led by the US military,” demanding the Russian side ensure that “all lines of communication and transport in Georgia remain open for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

14 August 2008

14.08 - A US С-17А military transport aircraft lands in TBILISI Airport with humanitarian cargo.

15.35 - A part of the Georgian armed forces units are withdrawn towards MTSKHETA, the rest of the troops were taking up defensive positions near TBILISI.

21.00 - US C-17A aircraft make five flights to TBILISI Airport delivering humanitarian and military cargoes.

15 August 2008

06.00 - Georgian armed forces units continued regrouping with the aim of building up the group of troops in the TBILISI area; individual sabotage and reconnaissance groups and snipers operate on South Ossetian territory.

10.00 - A defense circle being created around TBILISI and contiguous settlements. Defensive positions continue to be organized in the area of MTKHETA.

15.00 - NATO countries start rendering humanitarian assistance to Georgia.

17.00 - Forward units of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment, 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, set up five peacekeeping posts to assume control of the security zone.

16 August 2008

10.00 - 18 posts sets up in the LASHE and KOSHKA sector by efforts of the 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment, 19th Motorized Rifle Division.

13.00 - 693rd Motorized Rifle Regiment with a BTG of the 104th Amphibian Assault Regiment took up defensive positions with a forward edge along the left bank of the DIDI-RUI canal line so as to prevent a breakthrough of Georgian armed forces units towards KUTAISI and GORI. 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment, 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, in cooperation with a BTG of the 234th Amphibian Assault Division, 76th Amphibian Assault Division, took up defensive positions with a forward edge along the Lake Nalarbizevi line, elevation 735.6, 500 m western elevation 751.4, western outskirts of NATSRETI, so as to prevent a breakthrough of Georgian armed forces units towards TBILISI and GORI.

To reinforce the group of troops in South Ossetia, the introduction of units of airborne forces (a separate special-purpose unit of a separate regiment, 45th special-purpose regiment; 2/104th Amphibian Assault Regiment; BTG, 331st Parachute Regiment, 98th Airborne Division) into the territory of the republic begun.

17 August 2008

04.00 - Sabotage groups of the Georgian armed forces attempted to commit acts of sabotage in the ROKI TUNNEL area.

09.00 - 1st Infantry Brigade from Iraq takes up defensive positions on the OAKMI and eastern outskirts of KASPI line; on the SAGURAMO and MTSKHETA line a Georgian Interior Ministry special purpose unit defends; a reserve (up to a tank battalion strong) is concentrated at DIGOMI.

10.00 - 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment, 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, increases the number of posts in threatened sectors. All in all, 36 posts are set up,
including 16 on the western direction;
20 on the eastern direction.

To build up efforts of the group of forces in the Republic of South Ossetia, a reserve of manpower and equipment created in readiness for introduction into the conflict zone: 242nd and 255th Motorized Rifle Regiments, 944th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 20th Motorized Rifle Division in the ARDON area; 205th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade at the place of permanent deployment.

21.15 - A column of Russian peacekeepers moving from SENAKI fired on from grenade launchers 3 km south of the 301st Checkpoint.

The Georgian leadership actively searches for ways to restore the combat power of the armed forces.

22.00 - Georgian armed forces remain deployed in the barracks; same applies to units stationed in GORI.

18 August 2008

During 24 hrs - Formations and units of the Russian armed forces occupy designated areas, carry out search/reconnaissance actions and provide security for the civilian population in their zones of responsibility; units are also getting ready for withdrawal to their places of permanent deployment.

06.00 - The French Foreign Minister declares the need to send international peacekeeping forces into the Georgian-Ossetian zone of conflict and to put pressure on the conflicting parties so as to get Russian troops withdrawn from the territory of Georgia.

12.00 - South Ossetia objects to the presence on its territory of international observers and asks Russia to deploy a Russian military base in the region.

15.00 - Georgian armed forces units continue carrying out measures to restore combat power and prepare defenses on the approaches to TBILISI and step up sabotage and terrorist activities on South Ossetian territory.

18.00 - By decree of the President of Abkhazia, martial law canceled in a number of areas of the republic.

19 August 2008

06.00 - The leadership of Georgian security agencies undertakes attempts to regain control over the motor road between GORI and TBILISI.

08.00 - Georgian armed forces are strengthening their defensive positions in the Tbilisi sector.

According to intelligence, the entry into the Black Sea is planned of:
on August 22 – the ships from Poland (ORP General Pulaski), United States (USS Taylor) and Canada (HMCS Ville de Quebec);
on August 24 – from the United States (coast guard cutter Dallas); in September – US Navy ship Pathfinder;
on September 21 – the frigates from Spain (SPS Almirante Don Juan de Borbon) and from Germany (FGS Luebeck).

12.00 - Units for reinforcement of the Russian peacekeeping forces occupy designated areas and provide security for the civilian population in their zones of responsibility.

United Kingdom and United States submit to the emergency foreign ministers meeting of NATO a proposal to “suspend” cooperation with Russia in the area of ensuring joint security.

13.00 - Information about demoralization of Georgian armed forces personnel confirmed. During a 4th Infantry Brigade marching drill review by the Georgian president at VAZIANI, personnel looked depressed, about 200 troops did not have a military uniform; up to 150 troops had left the mountain training center at SACHKHERE. US servicemen responsible for the training of Georgian armed forces noted the low fighting efficiency of the troops and their inability to resist Russia’s armed forces.

17.00 - By return fire after an attack on a group of Russian peacekeepers by armed persons in the SKHALTBA area one policeman was killed and one taken prisoner.

18.00 - Mobile groups of Russian peacekeepers discovered and detained in the areas of POTI Port an armed group of 20; ZUGDIDI an armed group of 20 in 5 armored vehicles with the identification signs of the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Infantry Brigades of the Georgian armed forces.

21.00 - Georgian special forces units try to intensify reconnaissance, sabotage and terrorist activities, for which purpose they continue to use unmanned spy planes. One such UAV was downed by an air defense crew on duty of the Russian reinforcement units 16 km south of TSKHINVALI.

20 August 2008

08.00 - Formations and units of Georgia’s armed forces continue regrouping and the restoration of combat power. A part of the forces take up defensive positions on the approaches to TBILISI.

1st Infantry Brigade defends on the OKAMI – eastern outskirts of KASPI line;

on the SAGURAMO – MTSKHETA line a special forces brigade of Georgia’s Interior Ministry has taken up defensive positions, and an all-arms reserve of up to a tank battalion is concentrated in the DIGOMI area.

Work continues on the organization of positions in the KHOVLE area (3 km southwest of KASPI).

4th Infantry Brigade concentrated at its VAZIANI place of permanent deployment; up to an infantry brigade in the KODHZORI area. Up to 800 Georgian troops, presumably up to two infantry battalions from among 2nd Infantry Brigade personnel are concentrated in the ONI area.

Georgian special purpose units try to intensify sabotage and terrorist activities on the territory of South Ossetia and in contiguous areas.

08.30 - The SPS Almirante Don Juan de Borbon of Spain and FGS Luebeck of Germany start passing through the Dardanelles Strait.

11.30 - A firing Georgian machine-gun crew noticed 1-2 km from the Central Republican Hospital building in TSKHINVALI on a mountain slope. Russian peacekeepers open return fire for effect.

12.00 - In Stavropol Territory FSB agencies detain on a charge of spying in Georgia’s favor a senior Russian armed forces officer, M. Khachitze, who served in one of the military units in the North Caucasus.

13.00 - Four surface ships and one submarine of the Turkish Navy noticed in Black Sea waters (submarine Gür, frigates Barbaros, TCG Gediz, Göksu and O.K.Peri).

14.35 - Georgian armed forces command attempts to restore the system of communication and troop control. Work of 10 Georgian armed forces communication centers on ultra-short-wave frequencies noted.

16.00 - Two portable launchers and nine antitank guided missiles discovered and removed in the area 2 km west of DAVATI.

21.00 - The President of South Ossetia signs a degree lifting martial law.

21 August 2008

00.10 - The Georgian leadership asks the US Defense Department to urgently return to places of permanent deployment the Georgian servicemen taking a course of training in American educational institutions. In addition, questions of supplies to Georgia of military purpose products are actively discussed with the US leadership.

06.00 - Georgian armed forces units and formations are concentrated in the central part of the country, restore their combat power and prepare for further actions.

1st Infantry Brigade holds the OKAMI – eastern outskirts of KASPI line; the SAGURAMO-MTSKHETA line is held by Georgian Interior Ministry special forces; a reserve (consisting of up to a tank battalion) is concentrated in the DIGOMI area.

4th Infantry Brigade at its place of permanent deployment (VAZIANI).

Intelligence shows the Georgian side deployed additional manpower and equipment on the left bank of the river Ksani, concentrating in the AGAYANI area up to seven tanks and one armored personnel carrier, and in the KHIDISKURI area – up to five tanks and one armored personnel carrier, as also up to 20 units of special equipment.

08.30 - Reinforcement units of Russian peacekeeping forces:

in the South Ossetia sector:
perform service at 30 peacekeeping posts and outpost supports in the GORI area and along the administrative border of South Ossetia (71st Motorized Rifle Regiment, 42nd Motorized Rifle Division; and 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment, 19th Motorized Rifle Division); terrain organization continues in the areas of concentration (70th Motorized Rifle Regiment, 42nd Motorized Rifle Division; and 693rd Motorized Rifle Regiment, 19th Motorized Rifle Division), protect important facilities on lines of communication; units of the 20th Motorized Rifle Division conduct loading work and advance on railway transport to the place of permanent deployment;

in the Abkhazia sector:
are in the areas of concentration west of SENAKI, provide security for the civilian population in the area of SENAKI and POTI (108th Amphibian Assault Regiment, 247th Amphibian Assault Regiment, and 31st Separate Amphibian Assault Brigade); control the pass KALAMARI-SUKI (2nd Amphibian Assault Regiment and 247th Amphibian Assault Regiment); make preparations to set up additional peacekeeping observation posts in the first (from the 526th Motorized Rifle Battalion, 131st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade) and second (from 558th Motorized Rifled Battalion, 131st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade) security zone lines; perform the tasks in protecting the administrative buildings in ZUGDIDI (43rd Motorized Rifle Battalion, 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade).

13.30 - Based on the results of a “national gathering,” Abkhazia and South Ossetia send to Russia the appeals of the presidents and parliaments of the republics to recognize the independence of their self-proclaimed states.

18.35 - The SPS Almirante Don Juan de Borbon of Spain and FGS Luebeck of Germany enter the Black Sea.

22 August 2008

08.00 - The command of Georgian security agencies continues the conduct of reconnaissance activities to find out the nature and focus of activities by Russian armed forces units and South Ossetian militias as well as the preparation of armed actions in the Georgian-Ossetian zone of conflict.

Formations and units of the Georgian armed forces are concentrated in the central part of the Republic, restore combat power and prepare for further actions. Engineering work is under way to create operational defenses.

Formations and units of the Russian armed forces, having suspended active combat actions, occupy designated areas, conduct search and reconnaissance actions and provide security for the civilian population in their zones of responsibility. Formations and units of the 20th Motorized Rifle Division, concentrated in the area 1.5 km northwest of ARDON, are occupied with movement to the place of permanent deployment by rail.

10.00 - Small missile ship Mirazh returns to its base in SEVASTOPOL, with no hindrance on the part of Ukrainian authorities.

15.10 - The frigate ORP General Pulaski Pulaski (Polish Navy) and the US destroyer McFall pass through the Bosporus Strait.

17.30 - Formations and units of the Russian armed forces complete setting up peacekeeping observation posts of the security zones in the South Ossetia sector (217th Parachute Regiment, 98th Airborne Division – eights first-line posts; 135th Motorized Rifle Regiment, 19th Motorized Rifle Division – ten second-line posts) and in the Abkhazia sector (526th Motorized Rifle Battalion, 131st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade – eight first-line posts; 558th Motorized Rifle Battalion, 131st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade – nine second-line posts).

18.00 - Formations and units of the Russian armed forces that took part in the peacekeeping operation moved behind the first line of peacekeeping observation posts. Start preparations for withdrawal to their places of permanent deployment from August 23, 2008.