Seven years after the Russian-Georgian War: 20 percent of Georgian territory remains under illegal Russian military occupation

Press Briefing by Ambassador Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations

‘Seven years after the Russian-Georgian War in 2008, 20 percent of Georgian territory remains under illegal Russian military occupation’ says Georgian Ambassador Kaha Imnadze at the UN

 

“Seven years after the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008, 20 percent of Georgian territory remains under illegal Russian military occupation, resulting in mass violations of fundamental rights of the local population”, said Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations in New York on August 12. In addition, he added that “hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced persons are still denied the right to a safe and dignified return to the places of their residence.”

What was obvious, too, on the seventh anniversary of signing the six point Ceasefire Agreement brokered by the EU’s French Presidency and signed by the Presidents of Georgia and the Russian Federation in the aftermath of Russia’s full scale military aggression against Georgia in August 2008, creeping annexation, barbwire fences,  and illegal ”borderization” is not the way forward in resolving this protracted conflict.

Although Georgia has fulfilled all its obligations under the Ceasefire Agreement, “the Russian Federation still remains in material breach of the provisions of the Agreement.” As explained by the Georgian Ambassador, “the Russian armed forces have not returned to the positions before the outbreak of hostilities on August 7, 2008. Moscow has not taken legal commitment on non-use of force vis-à-vis Georgia despite Georgia’s unilateral non-use of force pledge.”

In addition, he stated, “the Russian Federation has not allowed free access for humanitarian assistance. “Furthemore”, he said, “Russia has single-handedly blocked the United Nations Observer Mission and the OSCE Mission to Georgia, and is continuously denying access to international observers, including the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia, whose mandate covers the entire territory of Georgia, including the occupied regions.

 

Press Briefing by Ambassador Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations
Shown here are members of the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the United Nations in New York, including Ambassador Kaha Imnadze, in the center, during the August 12 press briefing. UN Photo/Mark Garten

 

In information revealed to UN Correspondents in New York, Georgian Ambassador Imnadze stated: “in flagrant violation of the Ceasefire Agreement, the Russian Federation has established its military bases on the occupied territories, with l0,000 troops illegally deployed and equipped with heavy offensive armaments.

The Russian occupation forces have already installed 60 km-long barbwire fences and other artificial obstacles, as well as the banners marking the so-called “state border” along the occupation line.  This illegal “borderization” process has already affected around 200 local families, while compelling some of them to flee their places of residence, thus creating a new wave of IDPs.”

In his concluding statement,  Georgian Ambassador Imnadze said that “despite the constructive steps undertaken by the Georgian Government, Moscow has recently signed and ratified the so-called ‘treaties’ on integration with its occupation regimes In the Georgian regions which constitutes the creeping annexation of these territories by the Russian Federation.  These actions violate not only the fundamental principles of state sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also constitute a blatant infringement on political, civil, social, and economic rights, and freedom of movement of Georgian citizens living in the occupied territories.”

Inspite of these developments, Georgian Ambassador Imnadze made it clear that  “the Geneva International Discussions remains as the only forum for resolving all outstanding political issues between Georgia and Russia, first and foremost, the non-use of force pledge by the Russian Federation, the establishment of international security arrangements, as well as the safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees.  He also stated, “Georgia attaches high significance to the firm and consistent support and solidarity by the international community and calls for strengthening the pressure on Moscow to fulfill its obligations in full compliance with the international law, including the Charter of the United Nations.”

Ann Charles
Ann Charles is UN Bureau Chief of "Baltic Review" based in New York City. She covers diplomatic activities at United Nations Headquarters in New York and the world body's work in human rights, education, culture, the environment, and tourism, among other global concerns.