Writing in the Washington Post, Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili stresses that the West “cannot allow Russia’s annexation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to stand. Nor can Moscow be permitted to continuously flout the cease-fire to which it has repeatedly agreed.” He also underlines the importance of understanding how the recent conflict began:
For years, Russia sought to slander Georgia and my government while also blocking any meaningful negotiations with the separatists. This was part of a campaign to weaken international support for Georgia and lay the groundwork for invasion. As has been reported, Russia began a sharp military buildup this spring in both conflict zones, leading to armed attacks this summer by its proxy militias. Russia then started its land invasion in the early hours of Aug. 7, after days of heavy shelling that killed civilians and Georgian peacekeepers. At the time, Russia announced that 2,100 South Ossetian civilians had been killed by Georgians, thus forcing Moscow’s “humanitarian intervention.” This lie, subsequently debunked by Human Rights Watch (which estimated 44 dead) and others, was an attempt to conceal Moscow’s true motives.