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Georgian general who announced S.Ossetia attack faces pressure

Posted by Kris Roman on October 28, 2008

 

A Georgian general who announced Georgia’s ‘counterattack’ against South Ossetia before an official decision had been made by the leadership faced a grilling by a parliamentary commission in Tbilisi on Tuesday.

After the attack on the Georgian separatist province and the ensuing conflict with Russia, peacekeeping commander Gen. Mamuka Kurashvili was reprimanded by the Defense Ministry for making the announcement without authorization.

Georgia says the decision to attack was made after Russian peacekeepers began bombing peacekeeping positions in South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali. However, the Russian military says the aerial attacks were launched by Georgia, beginning a full 20 minutes after Kurashvili’s announcement, and that the early announcement gave Georgian peacekeepers time to flee Tskhinvali.

Addressing a parliamentary commission in August, Alexander Lomaya, who heads the Georgian National Security Council, said Kurashvili’s announcement on the evening of August 7 had been “incorrect”, and that a decision to attack, to “ensure constitutional order”, was only made after President Mikheil Saakashvili’s meeting with the security council.

During questioning on Tuesday, Kurashvili said: “This announcement was not coordinated with anyone. I did it impulsively.”

Explaining why he had falsely claimed on national TV that Georgia had launched an attack, he said he had been “shell-shocked”.

Georgia’s attack killed numerous civilians in South Ossetia, and prompted Russia to send troops and tanks in a “peace enforcement” operation. Two weeks after the end of the five-day war, Russia recognized South Ossetia, along Georgia’s other rebel region of Abkhazia, as independent countries.

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