Conflicts

Response to Five Lies of Grigory Karasin: 32 Killed, up to 3 000 Kidnapped, +32 Occupied

30 May, 2018

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in the interview with RFE/RL on May 24, following the meeting in the Abashidze-Karasin format that Russia has completely fulfilled its commitments under the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement. The EU-mediated ceasefire agreement was signed by the Georgian and Russian Presidents to end the August hostilities in Georgia. One of its points envisages the withdrawal of Russian troops to pre-conflict positions.

Five of six points of the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement, which were directly related to the Russian Federation, have not been fulfilled so far. Moreover, instead of rejecting violence and hostilities, since August 2008 Russia still continues creeping occupation, as well as the practice of kidnapping, detaining and killing of people from the occupied and adjacent territories.

What does the August 12, 2008 six-point ceasefire agreement envisage?

Following Russia’s aggression against Georgia, on August 12, 2008 the EU-brokered six-point ceasefire agreement was developed with direct involvement of then French President Nicola Sarkozy, whose country held the EU presidency. The Russian side signed the agreement on August 16. The 4th point of the six-point agreement says that Georgian military forces must withdraw to the places they are usually stationed. Georgia has fulfilled this point. Not only had the Georgian troops returned to the places of their dislocation following the August war, but Georgia lost its territories due to Russia’s non-fulfillment of its commitments under the agreement. As for the fulfillment of commitments undertaken by Russia, the table below provides an incomplete list of the data proving that the Russian Federation has not fulfilled even one commitment under the agreement.


Points

August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement

Fulfillment

        Real Facts

1

Non-use of force

        X

The Russian Federation refuses to fulfill the non-use of force commitment.

Since signing the August 12, 2008 agreement, the Russian occupation forces and puppet governments have:

  • Killed 43 Georgian citizens;
  • Kidnapped and detained up to  3000 Georgian citizens;
  • Additionally occupied (borderization) 32 villages;
  • As a result of borderization, a section of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline fell beyond border marker banners placed at the administrative boundary line.

Along with intensification of the so called borderization process in 2011, 32 more villages, as well as a 1600-meter section of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline fell beyond the occupation line. The Russian occupation forces have installed over 52 kilometers of barriers and barbed wire along the administrative boundary line.

2

A definitive halt to hostilities

       X

Actions carried out by the Russian occupation forces and puppet governments against Georgian citizens

  • In 2008-2016, the Russian occupation forces detained  2 775 Georgian citizens on charges of “illegal border crossing.”
  • In a period between  August 2008 and August 2009, the Russian occupation forces killed 30 Georgian law enforcers and 10 civilians in the areas adjacent to the occupation lines in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia. Over 80 persons were wounded. In 2014,  Davit Basharuli was illegally detained and killed by the Russian occupation forces in Tskhinvali Region; in 2016,  Giga Otkhozoria was killed by Abkhaz service man on the Tbilisi-controlled territory at the Khurcha-Nabakevi crossing point; on February 22, 2017,  Archil Tatunashvili was illegally detained and killed by the Russian-backed authorities in Tskhinvali.

The facts of violation of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by the Russian occupation forces since August 12, 2008

  • On  November 20, 2008 and  January 4, 2009, fire was opened at the Georgian checkpoint in the village of Ganmukhuri from the territory controlled by the Russian occupation forces.
  • On  December 13, 2008, hundreds of Russian paratroopers were deployed in the village of Perevi of Sachkhere district, but later the Russian troops pulled backed and returned to their previous positions.
  • On  July 29, 2009, fire was opened at the villages of Zemo Khviti, Zemo Nikozi and Georgian police checkpoint from the territory of Tskhinvali.
  • On  August 19 and  December 9-10, 2015, a Russian Mi-8 military helicopter intruded into the airspace controlled by the Georgian authorities and flew over the villages in the Gori municipality.

Illegal Integration of Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Regions into Russia’s military and political system

  •  Agreement on “Inclusion of Certain Units of the Armed Forces of South Ossetia in the Russian Armed Forces” (January 24, 2018).
  • Agreement on the establishment of the joint Russian-Abkhaz “Information-Coordination Center of Internal Affairs Agencies” to be based in Sokhumi.  The agreement is part of the treaty on “the alliance and strategic partnership” signed between Moscow and Sokhumi in 2014.
  •  Agreement on “joint border protection” signed between Russia and puppet governments of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali in April 2009.
  •  Opening of the so called customs point in Akhalgori by Russian occupation regime and the  creation of the so called specialized customs post in Sokhumi by the Russian Federation.

Militarization of Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and illegal military exercises:

  • Intensive  militarization: 10 000 Russian servicemen are deployed in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region. Following the August war, Russia launched establishing marine and air bases in Tskhinvali, Java, Gudauta, Sokhumi and Ochamchire. According to expert assessments, military units deployed in Georgia’s occupied regions have modern military equipment. Moreover, the Russian occupation forces deployed additional S-300 air-defense systems in Abkhazia.
  • On  March 5, 2015, the Russian Army began simultaneous field exercises on twelve firing ranges in the Russian Federation’s Southern Military District and in Georgia’s occupied regions of Tskhinvali and Abkhazia. Different military units, including divisions of air defense were involved in the exercises.
  • On  June 10, 2015, Russia began large-scale military exercises making use of unmanned drones at the military base of the Southern Military District in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region. More than 1500 troops took part in the exercises.
  • From August 17 to September 18, 2015, the Russian Federation held large-scale exercises at the military bases of the Southern Military District in Georgia’s occupied regions.
  • On August 19, 2015, the Russian army of the Southern Military District deployed in the North Caucasus and in the occupied Tskhinvali region started field exercises using new generation communications systems.
3

Provision of free access for humanitarian assistance

       X

Russia blocks access to international human rights mechanisms in the occupied regions:

  • Despite Georgia’s insistence, Russia did not give the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM)  access to the conflict zone.
  • Russia vetoed the extension of the OSCE  Mission in Georgia on December 22, 2008 and May 13, 2009.
  • On June 16, 2009, Russia vetoed the extension of the  UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). On December 28, 2009, representatives of Russia’s Federal Security Service did not  allow a truck of the World Food Programme (WFP) carrying foodstuffs for locals to enter the village of Perevi in Sachkhere district.

In addition, the situation is aggravating in the occupied regions on a daily basis. Russia intensifies ethnic discrimination against Georgian citizens living in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region, including through restricting Georgian language instruction in the schools of Gali district and registering local Georgian population as foreigners.

5

The Russian armed forces should withdraw to positions prior to the outbreak of hostilities

 

While waiting for an international mechanism, Russian peacekeeping forces will implement additional security measures

       X

 

The Russian armed forces still stay on the territory, which until August 6, 2008 (before the launch of hostilities) was controlled by Georgia’s central government.

According to Point 5 of the agreement, Russian occupation forces should withdraw from Akhalgori district and Upper Abkhazia, where they still stay, because these territories had never been parts of the conflict zone (neither in the nineties nor in a period before the August war) and they were illegally occupied after signing the August 2008 ceasefire agreement.

Number of Russian military units deployed on the territory of Georgia significantly exceeds the limits envisaged by the ceasefire agreement.

According to available data, over 10 000 servicemen are deployed in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region. Before the launch of hostilities, Russia should not have had its troops either in Tskhinvali Region or in Abkhazia. Only a 500-strength peacekeeping battalion (plus a 300-strength reserve force) should have been deployed in Tskhinvali Region, and a 2 500 – 3 000-strength CIS peacekeeping unit – in Abkhazia.

 

Russia blocked creation of all types of international mechanisms. It did not give EUMM access to the occupied regions, though the latter’s jurisdiction covers entire Georgia.

Communique of the President of France reads that “additional security measures” will take the form of patrols rather than of permanent checkpoints. Despite it, the Russian Federation set up permanent checkpoints and deployed its troops on the territory of Georgia.

6

Opening of international discussions on security and stability modalities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia

         X

The format of Geneva International Discussions (GID) was launched to address security and humanitarian consequences of the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008.

The Russian President hampered constructive discussions on stability and security in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region through unilateral recognition of the independence of these regions.


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Prepared by Ana Chitaladze