Alternate History

Padenie Gruzii

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The 2008 South Ossetia War, also known as the Russia–Georgia War, was an armed conflict in August of 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other. The war would eventually with Georgias defeat, and the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states at least thats how it happened in OTL. But this timeline explains what would happen if Georgia hadn't surrendered.

Prelude To War

Military buildup

During 2008 both Georgia and Russia accused each other of preparing for war. In April 2008, Russia said that Georgia was massing 1,500 soldiers and police in the upper Kodori Gorge area and planning to invade the breakaway region of Abkhazia. Russia said it was boosting its forces there and in the South Ossetia region as a response. Later, UNOMIG denied any build up in the Kodori Gorge or near the Abkhazian border by either sides.

In the same month Russia increased the number of its military peacekeepers in Abkhazia to 2,542 by deploying hundreds of paratroopers into the region. Even after the increase, troop levels still remained within the 3,000 limit imposed by a 1994 decision of CIS heads of state. Sergey Lavrov said, that his country was not preparing for war but would "retaliate" against any attack.

On April 16 Russia's president Vladimir Putin signed a decree authorising direct official relations between Russian government bodies and the secessionist authorities in Georgia's Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The move further heightened tensions between Russia and Georgia.

On 20 April, a Russian jet shot down a Georgian unmanned spy-plane flying over Abkhazia. After the incident Saakashvili deployed 12,000 Georgian troops to Senaki. Georgian interior ministry officials showed the BBC video footage, which Georgia said showed Russian troops deploying heavy military hardware in the breakaway region of Abkhazia. According to Georgia, "it proved the Russians were a fighting force, not just peacekeepers." Russia strongly denied the accusations. Both countries also accused each other of flying jets over South Ossetia, violating the ceasefire.

From July to early August, Georgia and Russia conducted two parallel military exercises, the joint US-Georgian Immediate Response 2008 and the Russian Caucasus Frontier 2008. According to a paper published by Institute for Security and Development Policy shortly after the war, the Russian troops remained by the Georgian border instead of returning to their bases after the end of their exercise on 2 August. After the war, Major General Vyacheslav Borisov and commander of the 76th Airborne Division praised the exercises in the region as one of the reasons why his unit performed well in the war. The Georgian 4th Brigade, which later spearheaded the attack into Tskhinvali, took part in the Georgian exercise along with 1,000 American troops. This caused Russia to accuse the United States of helping Georgian attack preparations. After the exercise, the Georgian Artillery Brigade, normally based in two locations, in Senaki and in Gori, was now moved completely to Gori, 25 km from the South Ossetian border. According to Colonel Wolfgang Richter, a leading military adviser to the German OSCE mission, Georgia concentrated troops along the South Ossetian border in July.

On 5 August, Russian ambassador-at-large Yuri Popov reiterated the Russian position that his country would intervene in the event of military conflict. The Ambassador of South Ossetia to Moscow, Dmitry Medoyev, declared that volunteers were already arriving, primarily from North Ossetia, in the region of South Ossetia to offer help in the event of Georgian aggression.

According to Moscow Defense Brief, an English-language defence magazine published by the Russian NGO, Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the Georgians "appear to have secretly concentrated a significant number of troops and equipment to the South Ossetian border in early August, under the cover of providing support for the exchange of fire with South Ossetian formations". The Georgian forces included the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Infantry Brigades, the Artillery Brigade, elements of the 1st Infantry Brigade, and the separate Gori Tank Battalion, plus special forces and Ministry of the Internal Affairs troops — as many as 16,000 men, according to the publication.[16] International Institute for Strategic Studies and Western intelligence experts give a lower estimate, saying that the Georgians had amassed about 12,000 troops and 75 tanks on the South Ossetian border by 7 August. On the opposite side, there were said to be 1,000 Russian peacekeepers and 500 South Ossetian fighters ready to defend Tskhinvali, according to an estimate quoted by Der Spiegel.

Pre-war clashes

In the worst violence in years, clashes and shelling between the Georgian and Ossetian forces in early August led to the deaths of six Ossetians and five Georgians; each side accused the other of opening fire first. During the week the fighting intensified. On 3 August, the Russian foreign ministry warned that an extensive military conflict was about to erupt. According to a Spiegel article, officials in European governments and intelligence agencies assumed that the warning concerned Saakashvili's plans for an invasion of South Ossetia, plans which had been completed earlier. Three days later, the evacuation of Ossetian women and children to Russia was completed, as some 35,000 people were successfully evacuated. Starting with the night of 6–7 August there were continuous artillery fire exchanges between the two sides.

At 2 p.m. on 7 August the Georgian peacekeeping checkpoint in Avnevi came under artillery fire which killed two Georgian peacekeepers. At around 2:30 p.m. Georgia mobilised tanks, 122mm howitzers, and 203mm self‐propelled artillery in the direction of the administrative border of South Ossetia.[124] In the late afternoon OSCE monitors confirmed the move of Georgian artillery and Grad rocket launchers massing on roads north of Gori. At 2:42 p.m. Georgia withdrew its personnel from the JPKF Headquarters in Tskhinvali.

At 4 p.m. Temur Yakobashvili, the Georgian minister of reintegration, arrived in Tskhinvali for a previously-agreed meeting with South Ossetians in the presence of chief Russian negotiator over South Ossetia, Yuri Popov. The Ossetians didn't show up — a day before, the South Ossetian side refused to participate in bilateral talks, demanding a JCC session (consisting of Georgia, Russia, North and South Ossetia) instead, but Tbilisi had withdrawn from the JCC in March, demanding the format include also the EU, the OSCE and the Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia.Yakobashvili confirmed that Tskhinvali was already largely evacuated: "Nobody was in the streets — no cars, no people". He met with the Russian commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Force (JPKF), General Marat Kulakhmetov, who stated that the Russian peacekeepers cannot stop Ossetian attacks and advised the Georgians to declare a ceasefire.

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