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Moscow churches to hold memorial services for South Ossetia war victims

August 08, 2013, 6:15 UTC+3

South Ossetia's capital Tskhinval and nearby settlements were shelled and bombed shortly before midnight on August 7, 2008

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MOSCOW, August 8 (Itar-Tass) - A memorial service for Russian peacekeepers and civilians killed in the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia will take place in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Thursday.

The service was ordered by representatives of the South Ossetian Embassy in Moscow," ecclesiarch of the Cathedral, archpriest Mikhail Ryazantsev told Itar-Tass.

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Solyanka Street, central Moscow, frequented by members of the Ossetian community, will also hold a memorial service.

On Thursday, the South Ossetian Embassy is accepting condolences from diplomatic missions, Muscovites, city guests and public organizations. Wreathes will be laid at the obelisk on the premises of the Embassy located in Kursovoy Lane near the Kropotkinskaya Underground station.


Unrecognized genocide

Meanwhile, South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov said at a news briefing in Tskhinval on Wednesday that the republic had the right to raise the issue before the international community to recognize the genocide of the Ossetian people by Georgia.

"Since the 1920s, the South Ossetian people has been subjected to genocide by Georgia several times. In the past two decades, Georgia began wars against South Ossetia three times, so we have every right to raise the issue before the global community of the recognition of genocide by Georgia," Tibilov underlined.

He noted that the South Ossetian Foreign Ministry was actively working on securing a principled legal and political assessment of Georgia's actions in August 2008.

In Tibilov's opinion, the decision on compelling Georgia to peace "was the most correct and necessary decision for the Ossetian people." "These decisions saved the people of South Ossetia from complete destruction," the president stated.

Despite the fact that new political forces came to power in Georgia, and Tbilisi changed its rhetoric, the neighboring state's policy toward South Ossetia has hardly changed, he went on say.

"These people saw what was happening in Georgia in 2008, but none of them, including incumbent Prime Minister Ivanishvili said "no" to /Georgian President Mikhail/ Saakashvili's actions. Senior Georgian politicians called Saakashvili's actions "an error," but how can a war codenamed "Operation Clear Field" which envisioned complete extermination of our republic be called "an error?" Tibilov said.

He called the Georgian president a war criminal and expressed regret that "double standards prevent the global community from condemning him for the crimes committed against South Ossetia."

"Therefore, we have to strengthen our defense capability. As in 2008, Georgia is building up its military potential while its refusal to sign the document on renouncing the use of force indicates that we have to be ready for any contingencies, including large military provocations," the South Ossetia president stated.


History of conflict

Tskhinval will hold several commemorative actions for the 2008 war victims on Thursday.

South Ossetia's capital Tskhinval and nearby settlements were shelled and bombed shortly before midnight on August 7, 2008. The Georgian army used Grad salvo missile launchers and cluster bombs which are regarded as weapons of mass destruction.

In the morning of August 8, Georgian tanks attacked the southern sectors of Tskhinval and delivered a strike at the Russian peacekeepers' barracks. Town residents and the peacekeepers took part in fierce fighting throughout the day.

The Russian leadership, in a critical situation, made the decision to launch an operation to compel Georgia to peace, and units of the 58th Russian army entered the republic. As a result of the military conflict 387 people were killed in a few days: local residents and Russian peacekeepers who had been defending them.

On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In response, Tbilisi severed diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared both republics the territories "occupied" by Moscow.


Independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in an interview to Georgia's Rustavi 2 television on Tuesday evening, said Russia was not going to revise its decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

When asked if there were circumstances under which Russia would be ready to revise this decision, the premier said "no."

"Of course, currently there are no conditions for revising this decision" he stated.

"I made this decision, I believe it was the only correct decision in that situation," said Medvedev who held the post of Russian president in 2008.

He added that such a revision would be the gravest error which would doom these people to very hard existence, if not extermination in certain situations.

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