News of the World
2008 news of the world from Afghanistan to
Conditions Deteriorate in
Afghanistan | India Rocked By a
Wave of Terrorist Attacks | Iraq on
the Path Toward Effective Leadership | Hopes Are Dashed for Peace Between
Israelis and Palestinians Under the Bush Administration | Kosovo Declares Independence | North Korea Continues Roller
Coaster Diplomacy | Changing of
the Guard in Pakistan | Putin
Retains Power | Turmoil
Within South Africa's Ruling Party | Elections Fail to Bring Change or Hope
In August 2008, fighting between Georgia and its two breakaway
regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, broke out. Russia sent hundreds
of troops to support the enclaves, and also launched airstrikes and
occupied the Georgian cities of Tbilisi and Gori. Observers speculated
that Russia’s aggressive tactics marked an attempt to gain control of
Georgia’s oil and gas export routes.
At the end of August, after a cease-fire agreement between Russia
and Georgia was signed, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev severed
diplomatic ties with Georgia, officially recognized South Ossetia and
Abkhazia as independent regions, and pledged military assistance from
Russia, heightening tensions between Russia and the West.
Both Russia and Georgia have painted each other as the aggressor
responsible for the war—Georgia said it launched an attack in South
Ossetia because a Russian invasion was under way, and Russia claimed
it sent troops to the breakaway region to protect civilians from
Georgia's offensive attack. In November 2008, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, a
former Georgian diplomat to Moscow, testified that the Georgian
government was responsible for starting the conflict with Russia.
Kitsmarishvili stated that Georgian officials told him in April that
they planned to start a war in the breakaway regions and were
supported by the U.S. government.
For more information about Russia and Georgia: