Thursday, October 1, 2009

EU Investigators : Georgia started the war

The EU fact-finding mission on the Russia-Georgia war has published its findings in a much-anticipated report. The authors blame Georgia for the war but also assign partial responsibility to Russia. Both countries have reacted angrily to the findings, with the Russia ambassador to NATO saying the report is only "pseudo-balanced."

The truth about the war between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway republic of South Ossetia in August 2008 sounds somewhat convoluted, at least as expressed in the final report of the independent EU fact-finding mission charged with establishing the causes of the conflict. "Georgian claims of a large-scale presence of Russian armed forces in South Ossetia prior to the Georgian offensive on 7/8 August could not be substantiated by the mission," reads the document, which was published Wednesday. To put it more simply: It was Georgia who started the war.

Sentences like this one have irritated the Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin. "This report has a pseudo-balanced approach," Rogozin told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "All the parties are criticized a little, including the Ossetians, the Russians and Georgia's Western patrons. But one no longer sees the wood for the trees."

According to Rogozin, the key thing is that the EU mission has clearly stated that Georgia started the hostilities. "But if the Russian military response has been criticized as being too harsh, then this is surely a matter of taste," Rogozin complained. "I certainly think it was still too lax."

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