PM Garibashvili commemorates Russia-Georgia War

PM Garibashvili paid tribute to soldiers who have died for the homeland in 2008 August war. Photo by PM’s Press Office., 08 Aug 2014 - 12:30, Tbilisi,Georgia

Heroes who lost their lives while serving Georgia in the August War in 2008 are being remembered today six years after their deaths.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili laid a wreath at the county’s national memorial and paid tribute to the 228 Georgian civilians, 170 soldiers and 14 police officers who lost their lives after five days of Russia-Georgia conflict.

"I pay tribute to our heroes who died for their homeland. I would like to thanks their families for bringing up such patriots and believe me the state will always back them. The names of our dedicated soldiers will never be forgotten,” Garibashvili said at today’s commemoration.

"Russia’s military aggression against Georgia claimed the lives of hundreds of our citizens. Georgia’s territories are occupied and many people have become internally displaced people (IDPs) in their homeland.”

Garibashvili believed Georgian authorities spared no efforts to ensure peace was not threatened in our country. "Peace has no alternative,” he added.

"[We] are firmly standing on the path of European integration, [and it] is irreversible. We built this European and democratic country to become a worthy member of a bigger European family. At the same time Georgia consistency takes steps to normalize its relationship with Russia,” Garibashvili said.

Through peaceful negotiations, not conflict was the only way that would "lead Georgia to the de-occupation and unity of the country”.

Garibashvili was confident Georgia's democratic development and economic growth would change the opinion of our brothers - the Abkhazians and Ossetians - and Georgia would become more attractive to them.

"[I] sincerely believe we will manage to regain our brotherhood, reach a consensus and coexist,” Garibashvili said.

Meanwhile, even though six years had passed from the deadly conflict, the Georgian leader said the country continued to face the consequences of the August 8, 2008 war. He refused to comment on who was responsible for causing the war but believed "preventing the war was possible”.

"The fact is that the inconsistent policy of [Mikheil] Saakashvili meant we were unable to prevent war with Russia and as a result we lost territory and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, who now live in very heavy conditions,” Garibashvili said.

The Russia-Georgia war displaced 192,000 people. Many were able to return to their homes after the war but as of May 2014, more than 20,200 people remain displaced. Today, they continued to live in small settlements built specifically for internally displaced persons (IDPs) nearby Tbilisi.