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TSKHINVAL, August 8. /TASS/. South Ossetia is holding mourning events on Sunday and Monday to pay tribute to those killed during the five-day armed conflict with Georgia in August 2008.
South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov who attended a mourning rally in the capital Tskhinval on Sunday said local residents had suffered a lot since early 1990s but the attack by the Georgian forces on the city overnight to August 8, 2008 was the most hideous event.
"During those awful days our republic was hit by tons of shells that took lives of 1,000 people - civilians, soldiers and Russian peacekeepers. Every year we gather to honor the memory of those people thanks to whom we have been living in peace in a free and independent country for the eighth year already," he said.
He stressed that the South Ossetian people were saved only due to the help of Russia, Russian soldiers and peacekeepers. "All honor to all those who defended peaceful citizens with weapons in their hands and freed our republic, our people and forced the aggressor to peace," Tibilov said.
Before and after 2008 war
The events of August 2008 divided the life of the republic’s citizens into "before" and "after," the president said. "Before" this our life saw permanent wars and tensions when people always had the feeling of imminent death. And "after" when Russia saved us and recognized the independence of this country and our people obtained freedom."
The mourning events dedicated to the eighth anniversary of the five-day war are held in South Ossetia on August 7-8. They began with a wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of the death of Russian peacekeepers. Most events took place in downtown Tskhinval. More than 3,000 people gathered for a rally called "Memory is alive when those who live remember!" The events will continue on Monday with a wreath-laying ceremony at the scenes of death of the defenders of South Ossetia. A thematic exhibition dedicated to the war will be also held at the republic’s National Museum.
Overnight to August 8, 2008 Georgia launched an armed attack on South Ossetia. Russia defended the civilians and its peacekeepers who had been in the region since 1992. More than 1,000 people were killed during the conflict, including 72 Russian servicemen. On August 26, 2008 Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia.