When the clock strikes midnight tonight, Georgia will mark the eighth anniversary of Russia’s aggression and occupation of Georgian territory, as a sovereign, independent state.
This afternoon Georgia’s Foreign Ministry issued a special statement in connection with the date.
The Agency noted August 7, 2016 marked the eighth anniversary of Russia's "large-scale military intervention” and "aggression against Georgia”. Developments started on the evening of August 7 but the physical confrontation started on August 8.
"Since then Russia has continued illegal occupation of the regions of the sovereign and independent state in contradiction with the international law as well as the commitments of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement,” the Ministry said.
In the eight years since the August 2008 war, as a result of the pragmatic approach of the Georgian Government the risk of escalation of the conflict was significantly decreased however the security and humanitarian situation in the occupied territories remain, said the Ministry.
"Fortifying the occupation line by razor and barbed wire fences and the so-called ‘border’ signs became a practice. These destructive actions are exacerbated by abduction and illegal detentions of the Georgian citizens,” the Ministry said.
The Ministry also stressed that hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees were still denied the right to a safe and dignified return to the place of their original residence, while the population that remained in the occupied regions suffered from permanent ethnic discrimination.
A clear illustration of that is the prohibition of education in their native language, gross violation of the right to freedom of movement and property, which creates the risk of a new wave of ethnic cleansing in the occupied regions,” the statement read.
Moreover, Moscow launched the factual annexation process of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, integrating them into Russia’s military, economic and social systems, which flagrantly infringes the fundamental principles of the international law.”
Despite Russia’s provocative steps, the Government of Georgia firmly followed the peaceful conflict resolution policy.
The Ministry stressed Georgia remained committed to active engagement in the Geneva International Discussions, which aimed at resolving the outstanding security and humanitarian issues between Georgia and Russia in accordance with the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Government of Georgia will further continue its rational policy towards Russia and will use all available diplomatic and political tools to resolve the conflict through peaceful means. Besides, the Government will spare no efforts to create favorable conditions for the reconciliation between the war-torn communities and stay open to share the benefits of Georgia’s European agenda to the people living beyond the occupation line,” official Tbilisi said.
While the ongoing occupation of the regions and serious security challenges, Georgia managed to succeed in its democratic transition and sustainable economic development, steadily moving along the path of its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.”
Georgia expressed gratitude to the international society for the firm and unwavering support to Georgia’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Georgian side calledon the international community to further consolidate efforts in responding to the consequences of the August 2008 war and the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia in compliance with international law.
The Ministry also expressed its deepest sympathy to the families of the soldiers and civil population who fell victim to the August 2008 war, as well as to all people of Georgia.
The Russia-Georgia war lasted five days and following this armed conflict 228 Georgian civilians, 170 soldiers and 14 police officers had lost their lives.
The war displaced 192,000 people in Georgia. Many were able to return to their homes after the war but as of May 2014, more than 20,200 people remain displaced.