CrisisWatch Georgia

Unchanged Situation

Tense political atmosphere prevailed as Georgia marked 15th anniversary of 2008 war with Russia; former Russian president warned Moscow could annex breakaway regions.

15th anniversary of Russia-Georgia 2008 war provoked fierce debate. Foreign Ministry 7 Aug called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgian territory on occasion of 15th anniversary of Russian-Georgian war. Opposing narratives of conflict, meanwhile, dominated anniversary. Notably, PM Garibashvili 8 Aug blamed former govt of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili for war that “could have been avoided”; move followed chairman of main opposition party United National Movement day before criticising ruling Georgian Dream for allowing Russia to pursue its goals even after war ended. EU and U.S. 7 Aug condemned Moscow’s invasion, while Russian officials sought to shift blame onto NATO; notably, deputy Head of Russian Security Council and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev 8 Aug claimed “the U.S. and its vassals” had waged proxy war in Georgia. Breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia 7 Aug praised Russian “aid” in 2008.

Former Russian president threatened to annex breakaways. Ahead of 15th anniversary of Russia recognising South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s independence on 25 Aug, Medvedev 23 Aug published article in Argumenty i Fakty newspaper blaming NATO for escalating tensions over Georgia by discussing country’s potential membership to alliance. He concluded by threatening to annex breakaways “if there are good reasons”; Tbilisi same day condemned comments.

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