TSKHINVAL, August 8 (RIA Novosti) – South Ossetia, a former Georgian republic in the Caucasus, on Friday commemorated the anniversary of Georgia’s deadly invasion that killed hundreds of innocent people.
Lights went out for about a minute in Ossetia’s capital city Tskhinval to honor the victims of Tbilisi’s ground operation codenamed “Clear Field” that was launched exactly six years ago in a bid to wrest control of the breakaway republic.
Ossetians lit candles outside the country’s renovated parliament building that was ravaged by fire during a military assault on Tskhinval on August 8, in which the capital and several villages nearby were heavily shelled by the Georgian Army.
The fighting was stopped by Russian troops who moved in from the north in an operation aimed at forcing Tbilisi to end its aggression, after its UN-mandated peacekeepers came under attack.
South Ossetian President Leonid Tibilov pledged to always remember those who fell during the five-day war.
“It is hard to find words of consolation for the bereaved families and impossible to compensate for their loss. Now we must think about the future of our country, about how to make it stronger and better.
“The history of South Ossetia was split in ‘before’ and ‘after.’ ‘Before’ was the sensation of death always looming over you and the ever-rising tally of victims. 'After’ is our ability to live in a peaceful recognized country,” Tibilov said in an address to the nation.
The speech ended with a moment of silence to honor those who died in the war against Georgia and a symphony concert. A government delegation also visited the former barracks of Russian peacekeeping troops in the country, as well as the road out of the city where scores of residents lost their lives while attempting to flee Tskhinval.
Georgia’s relations with Russia have been poor ever since the 2008 war and Moscow’s decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former autonomous region of Georgia.