Crisis in the Caucasus

A Unified Timeline, August 7-16, 2008
by Dr. Nicolai N. Petro University of Rhode Island (USA)

First compiled on August 28, 2008, this timeline is continuously being revised as more information becomes available. The latest PDF version can be downloaded from my web site at:

This unified description of the onset of the crisis in the Caucasus is based on the detailed timelines available on the web sites of the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Russia Today news service. R6. There are surprisingly few disagreements about the actual sequence of events. and international press sources. at the time these events unfolded. [M8. Russian. was GMT (UTC) +4 in both Moscow and Tbilisi. “M” for miscellaneous. in order to better launch an attack. M9] . sniper and machine-gun exchanges between Georgian troops and South Ossetian militia leave at least eleven dead and fifteen wounded. Those that exceed two hours are noted by italics. supplemented by various Georgian. For convenience all local times have been converted to Greenwich Mean Time which. the OSCE and to Russia. >>>>> >>>>> >>>>> On August 1-2. appeals to the UN." [M13] South Ossetian forces claim that Georgian forces are trying to occupy the surrounding hills. My comments. . “R” for Russian. M10]. None the less. R5. and make daily denials that any Georgian troop movements are taking place at all [G2. at the bottom of each page. attempt to highlight notable findings. The references in brackets refer to the list of sources at the end of this document: “G” for Georgian. where a UN Observer Mission has been active since August 1993. On August 4 the parliament of Abkhazia. more than 12.000 troops and a third of Georgia’s military arsenal are poised on the border with South Ossetia. Georgian officials deny any such intentions. saying: "The Georgian leadership is preparing for new forceful actions with the aim of restoring its control over the Republic of South Ossetia” and warns that “a war in South Ossetia won't leave Abkhazia untouched . by the morning of August 7. .

" adding "We do not have the will to respond to violence with yet more violence. [M6] 18:35 -. Tbilisi informs Marat Kulakhmetov. even if they face intensive bombing. on national television. The next day. [M6. [G6] 23:45 – In Beijing Russian Prime Minister Putin tells U. commander of Russian peacekeepers.S.“ [M6] 15:10 -.Georgian forces begin an artillery assault on Tskhinvali.Georgian Defense Minister Kezerashvili says he ordered Georgian troops "to prepare everything.Georgia attacks 14:00 -. that the cease fire is cancelled.Georgian President Saakashvili announces a unilateral ceasefire and orders all Georgian forces "not to return fire.Mamuka Kurashvili.Georgia says it has occupied three villages in South Ossetia. . [M8] 19:05 -.“ [G1. Georgia moves additional infantry and artillery up the front. Ossetia. but that "one of Georgia's military leaders has declared that they have started an attack on S. [M9] 18:00 -. George replied . G4] There are no Georgian reports of Russian troops in the region prior to the beginning of Georgian military operations (this will change later). [G3] . M3] 22:45 -.” [M4] • • Saakashvili’s cease fire lasts less than three hours.Citing the shelling of Georgian villages from S.August 7 -. During this time. Saakashvili will say that Russian air strikes began on August 8.Western intelligence sources report that Georgian artillery begins to shell the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. This is about one hour before Saakashvili later says Russian tanks entered the Roki Tunnel. announces on television that his troops are now engaged in an operation to "restore constitutional order throughout the region. to go out from the bases. Ossetia. the general in charge of Georgian peacekeeping operations. President George Bush that Russia has been unable to contact the Georgian leadership recently.“ [G5] 16:30 -. ‘Nobody wants war’. . [M9] OSCE monitors on the scene report no such shelling.

at 19:30 GMT on August 7. 05:01 -. Russian troops enter South Ossetia 17 hours after Georgia launches its military operation. [G7] The commander of Russian forces reports that his forces take control of the city on August 9 at 07:40. which objects to a phrase in the three-sentence statement that calls on all sides "to renounce the use of force. M12] 05:30 -.In a televised address. [R10] 05:15 – Russia’s convenes an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council to consider a cease-fire resolution. [M7.Georgia reports that Russian forces have reached Tskhinvali. [G7] 16:30 -. at 22:06 on August 7 [M9].Georgia reports that it now controls Tskhinvali. During this time Georgia reports Russian air assaults. The U. [R3] 07:30 -." The meeting adjourns after 45 minutes without taking action. [G7] 12:04 -. depending on the source.Georgia reports that its troops have withdrawn from Tskhinvali. The battle of Tskhinvali lasts anywhere from 2-37 hours. [G3] 10:30 -. [R10] 14:44 -.400 people were killed in Friday's fighting.South Ossetian president Kokoity says that 1. with Georgia attempting three distinct assaults. [G7] The first international press agency reports of Russian tanks in the Roki tunnel appear almost exactly between these two accounts.Russia's Defense Ministry announces it has sent "peacekeeping reinforcements" into South Ossetia. though it later reports that its troops withdrew on August 10 at 03:00.Georgian Minister for Reintegration Temuri Yakobashvili announces that Tskhinvali is nearly surrounded and that Georgia now controls two-thirds of South Ossetia.Russian president Medvedev convenes an emergency session of the government to discuss options. [R10] • • Russia appeals for a ceasefire resolution at the United Nations at least six hours before sending in ground forces.S. and Great Britain back Georgia.August 8 — Russia responds 00:45 -. Officially. [R11] 17:03 -.“ [G6] Three days later it will say that 100 Russian vehicles crossed through the Roki tunnel into Georgia six hours earlier. [M6] • .South Ossetia asks Russia’s for protection. Saakashvili mentions Russian air strikes as beginning on August 8 (later he revise this to August 7) and mobilizes Georgian reserve troops against "a large-scale military aggression" by Russia. but no encounters between Russian and Georgian ground forces for 19 hours. [R19] 01:30 – The Georgian Foreign Ministry reports that the "first Russian troops enter through Roki Tunnel.

5 days. on August 22. US Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle will say that Russia “responded to attacks on Russian peacekeepers legitimately.Medvedev announces that Russia is engaged in “peace enforcement” operations in South Ossetia. condemns Russia's 'military actions against Georgia' at the UN. [R11] 23:00 -.S.S.UN Security Council for the third time fails to pass a resolution on the conflict. . [R11] 07:04 -. [G7] 11:05 -.Saakashvili calls for an immediate ceasefire.Russia says 30.000 refugees have fled South Ossetia during the past 1.August 9 — UN mediation stalls 02:00 – U.” [M11] He will later say that he was misquoted. It simultaneously declares martial law within Georgia and a general mobilization. .S. [R11] 05:46 -. [R11] 13:34 – Russia’s ambassador to Georgia says that at least 2. [R11] • First official U. condemnation of Russian for “military actions against Georgia. [R11] 11:52 -.000 people have been killed in Tskhinvali. [R11] 10:30 -.” Curiously. • . [R11] 07:16 – U.Georgia declares it is at war with Russia. Department of State condemns Russia's “use of strategic bombers and missiles” against Georgia.Abkhazia launches an offensive to remove Georgian troops occupying the Kodory Gorge in Abkhazia. The UN Security Council repeatedly fails to pass a ceasefire resolution.

August 10 — Positioning for peace 13:30 -. . [R12] 19:28 – Russia reports that it has sent troops into Abkhazia.Georgian Foreign Ministry hands diplomatic note on ceasefire terms to Russian charge d’affairs in Tbilisi. Russian deputy foreign minister Karasin announces terms for a cease fire—Georgia must withdraw its military to positions prior to conflict and pledge not to use force. [R12] • Basic ceasefire terms are agreed upon before the arrival of foreign intermediaries.French and Finnish foreign ministers arrive in Tbilisi to mediate a peace agreement. [G7] 19:17 -.

The US flies 800 Georgian troops from Iraq back to Georgia. and 90 hours after the beginning of military operations by Georgia.NATO head Jan de Hoop Scheffer says Russia is using 'disproportionate force' against Georgia.Saakashvili signs ceasefire agreement prepared by France and Finland. This is 73 hours after Russian troops officially enter S. [G7] 14:12 -. Russia is prevented from raising the crisis at the Russia-NATO Council.Georgia reports that Russian troops occupy Zugdidi. Ossetia.Russian military says 9.Russian troops say they are taking "preventative action" near Senaki and Zugdidi.August 11 – Russia enters Georgia 05:07 -. • . [R13] 17:19 -. R14] 08:53 -.US president George W. [R13] 21:15 -.000 Russian troops have been sent to Abkhazia. which was ostensibly created to discuss issues of conflict that might arise. [R9.British Foreign Secretary condemns Russia's actions in Georgia. Ossetia. outside S. both inside Georgia proper. Bush says "Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. [R13] 09:16 -. [R13] 08:48 – Russia calls for an emergency meeting of the Russia-NATO council to appeal for assistance in South Ossetia. [G6] 13:00 -. [R13] 08:18 -.“ [G6] • 13:00 on August 11 is the first official mention of Russian forces entering Georgia proper.Saakashvili says the Russian military has blocked a central highway linking east and west Georgia. [R13] The meeting is blocked by the United States. [R13] 09:30 -.

Saakashvili accepts the ceasefire terms signed in Moscow.S. [R15] 15:13 -. .Abkhazia says it has re-taken the Kodori Gorge (confirmed by Georgia three hours later). Kyrgyzstan. [R15] 15:47 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). [R14] 11:41 -. Belarus. saying: “Under the pretext of re-establishing territorial integrity. conducted genocide again the Ossetian people. Kazakhstan.Tskhinvali’s mayor says 70 percent of the city's buildings were destroyed during the conflict. All told roughly 1. Russian. Georgia. Russia claims they are establishing a security perimeter around South Ossetia and Abkhazia to prevent further Georgian attacks. Georgia says they are planning an assault on Tbilisi. military" in Georgia. [R14] August 13 12:05 -.” [R15] • There are persistent reports of Russian troops inside Georgia proper. in essence.Bush orders the start of a "humanitarian mission headed by the U. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. [R14] 21:11 -. comprising Armenia. condemns Georgia.EU says it is ready to send peacekeepers to Georgia. [R14] 16:31 -.000 Russian troops will be deployed in this security perimeter through September.August 12-13 — Russia consolidates August 12 01:46 – At the UN Security Council Russia rejects a draft resolution on the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict introduced by France.

S. President George W. Ossetia and Abkhazia sign a peace agreement in Moscow as part of the cease fire. [R18] 21:34 – French President Nicholas Sarkozy has sent a letter to Saakashvili interpreting the security measures allowed within the conflict zone. Secretary of State Rice arrives in Tbilisi on a “visit of support. August 16 10:57 -. [R18] . [R16] August 15 11:52 – U.S. Bush calls Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili to express support for him and for the people of Georgia.U.” [R17] Saakashvili signs the version of the Sarkozy-Medvedev peace plan she brings with her. Secretary of Defense Gates says he doesn't "see any prospect" of the U. [R18] 23:32 -. [R16] 15:16 – U.S. military becoming involved in the troubles in Georgia.Medvedev officially signs the six point Sarkozy-Medvedev peace plan. but that it remains in the city to prevent looting.S.Leaders of S.August 14-16 — Peace accord August 14 08:10 – The Russian army reports it has transferred control of Gori to civilian administration. [R16] 09:42 -. Medvedev says Russia will support any decision made by the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on their status. The Russian press notes significant differences between the versions signed by Saakashvili in Tbilisi and by Medvedev in Moscow.

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