Russia and Georgia have branded each other as the aggressor in their brief war one year ago.
the eve of the anniversary of that conflict, the Russian Foreign
Ministry repeated in a lengthy statement the contention
that Russian forces swept into Georgia in August 2008 to protect the
people of South Ossetia from a pre-planned "criminal" attack. The
statement condemned Georgia's artillery strikes on the South Ossetian
capital, Tskhinvali, as "barbaric aggression."
For their part,
authorities in Georgia say they used military force only after Russian
troops and tanks crossed into Georgia. A report issued in the
Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Thursday cited evidence that reputedly shows Russia
started the war by invading Georgian territory following weeks of
European Union monitors in the area stepped up patrols Thursday. They say the situation in general was calm.
largest security organization is warning that the North Caucasus region
remains "unstable and fragile" one year after the Georgian-Russian
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe called for both sides to refrain from actions and statements
that could further inflame tensions.
U.S. envoy Daniel Fried was in Tbilisi Thursday meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and other top officials.
on Wednesday accused the United States of rearming the Georgian
military and warned the U.S. move would force Moscow to react. In
Washington, Alexander Vershbow, a high-ranking U.S. defense official, told
lawmakers on Capitol Hill that U.S. efforts are aimed at training
Georgian forces although other forms of help could be offered in the
Weeks after a French-brokered cease-fire took hold last
year, Moscow recognized South Ossetia and a second Georgian breakaway
territory, Abkhazia, as independent countries, despite strong Western
protests. Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian
counterpart Dmitri Medvedev spoke by telephone about reducing tensions
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.