Author`s name Ольга Савка

Georgia and South Ossetia on verge of armed conflict

The word "war" can now be often heard in the streets of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital

The situation in the republic of South Ossetia remains intense. Night skirmishes between Georgian and Ossetian groups continue together with the shelling of the city of Tskhinvali and villages Eredvi, Prisi, Ardsivi, presumably populated by Georgians. Fortunately, no one has been killed yet, although there are wounded people on both sides.

Georgian Security Council Secretary Gela Bezhuashvili arrived in Moscow yesterday to meet his Russian colleague Igor Ivanov. The Russian government in its turn sent to South Ossetia special ambassador of the Foreign Ministry Lev Mironov. After the meeting with Georgia's minister for the regulation of conflicts, Mironov left to Tskhinvali to conduct negotiations with spokespeople for Georgian military structures. However, there is no news about the meeting yet.

Commander of the peacemaking forces in the conflict area Major-General Svyatoslav Nabdzorov believes the situation has been aggravated with the mutual violation of achieved agreements. "It does not matter, who started shooting first. Both Georgia and Ossetia have broken the agreements achieved in 1992, as well as the agreements achieved on June 2nd at the session of the joint supervising committee," Nabdzorov was quoted as saying.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili established a coordinating center on Saturday to stop the development of the armed conflict. The center will be permanently based in the conflict zone, in Eredvi village. Georgia's Interior Minister Irakly Okruashvili heads the center. The president also ordered the Defense Ministry to set the troops on high alert. Armed forces are prepared to be dispatched to South Ossetia.

Making a speech in front of Georgia’s Defense Ministry National Academy graduates, Mikhail Saakashvili was very harsh in his statements. The Georgian president blamed Russia for the escalation of the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia. Particularly, the president blamed the State Duma, because several of its deputies had released anti-Georgian statements and supported the separatist regime of Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoiti. "Imperial forces on the territory of the Russian Federation  inspire the armed conflict in South Ossetia. If the conflict happens, it will not be an internal matter of Georgia. It will be an armed conflict between Georgia and Russia. I want Russia to be aware of that," the Georgian president said.

President Saakashvili also informed special services obtained the information, which said that Russian mercenaries appeared in Tskhinvali. "During the upcoming months all funds will be spent on defense, on the fortification of the state border and on the replenishment of state reserves," the president stated. Saakashvili also emphasized, the Georgian authorities discuss the Ossetian issue with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, with Russia's Security Council and President Putin himself. Speaking about the relations with Moscow, the Georgian president said: "We showed a token of friendship to Russia but we saw nothing like that in return."

The word "war" can now be often heard in the streets of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. People talk about the war in South Ossetia too. Georgian television company Mze reported, South Ossetian authorities were fortifying approaches to Tskhinvali. The channel showed the footage, on which one could see armored vehicles and anti-aircraft weapons near Tskhinvali.

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