TSKHINVAL, August 8 (Itar-Tass) — Events are currently held in South Ossetia on the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the Georgian aggression against the republic the people of which honour the memory and courage of the heroes - compatriots and Russian peacekeepers, who thwarted the adventurist plans of Tbilisi in August 2008.
The memory action “Let us Remember all...” was held in the republic’s capital overnight. The guests and residents of South Ossetia, representatives of the Alania Diocese and the republic’s leadership marched in a religious procession from the capital’s Teatralnaya Square to Square of Fatherland Defenders. At a screen installed there documentary footage of the combat actions was shown, and the mournful music was played by the Rachmaninoff Russian State TV and Radio Symphony Orchestra.
“The South Ossetian leadership promises that it will never forget the friends and relatives of the soldiers who fell on the field of battle in the land of South Ossetia. The treacherous attack began at a time when the world attention was focused on the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing. Innocent civilians, young defenders of our state, the peacemakers were killed,” the republic’s President Leonid Tibilov told the crowd in the square.
Russian Ambassador to South Ossetia Elbrus Kargiyev pledged that the aggression will not recur, and that the Russian Federation is the guarantor of security of the republic’s population. “Today we mourn, remember and grieve over the untimely deaths of women, children, old people, the wonderful Tskhinval guys - patriots of their country and, certainly, the Russian peacekeepers. But there is also a reason for joy - South Ossetia has got the opportunity to live a peaceful life and develop. As Russia’s representative I guarantee that that the children of South Ossetia will never see the horrors of war. The guarantors of this are the Russian Federation and its political leadership, the leaders of our country and the structures - diplomatic and military that at the invitation of the republic’s leadership and the will of the Ossetian people have settled in South Ossetia,” Kargiyev stressed.
After the church service in the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Tskhinval’s outskirts, prayers were uttered and candles will lit in memory of those who were killed by the Georgian aggressors’ attack.
The aggressors committed the open invasion of South Ossetia after tension escalation in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone. Early in August, the Georgian side systematically opened artillery fire and sniper shooting at Tskhinval and Ossetian villages, posts of the republic's law-enforcement structures and the North Ossetian battalion of the joint peacekeeping forces. The fire was opened from border Georgian residential sites. Dozens of civilians were killed or wounded during the first week of the month. The republic's authorities began to evacuate women and children.
The efforts of the Russian and South Ossetian members of the Mixed Control Commission and the command of the joint peacekeeping forces could not prevent the war. The Georgian side stated in words that it was committed to peaceful crisis settlement, but in fact stalled the negotiating process.
Shortly before midnight on August 7, sleeping Tskhinval and nearby Ossetian villages were attacked with missile and artillery fire and air strikes. Along with artillery fire, the Georgian army used Grad multiple launch rocket systems and cluster bombs (mass destruction weapons) against the civilian population.
The Ossetian villages of Khetagurovo, Dmenis, Pris, Sarabuk, Satikar, Mugut, Didmukha, Galuanta and others were also intensively shelled.
Early on August 8, Georgian tanks attacked the southern outskirts of Tskhinval. The strikes also hit the barracks of the Russian peacekeepers in the upper area of the south Ossetian capital.
City defenders and peacekeepers started fighting with the attackers. Some Georgian armoured vehicles were hit and burst into flames on Tskhinval streets. The fierce street fighting continued throughout the day.
In this critical situation, the Russian leaders decided to start an operation to force the Georgian aggressor to peace. Units of Russian Army 58 came into the republic. Tskhinval was unblocked in two days. The Georgian troops were forced far into their territory. They were completely demoralised.