Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A Russian probe on Tuesday alleged that Georgia committed genocide in its August conflict with Russia, the latest accusation in a bitter war of words between the two foes.
The probe’s findings came a day after objections from Moscow forced Europe’s OSCE security watchdog to wrap up its observer mission in Georgia, prompting a furious reaction from Tbilisi.
“We can say that we have witnessed the genocide of the Ossetian people,” the head of the Russian prosecutors’ investigative committee Alexander Bastrykin told reporters.
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He said 162 South Ossetian civilians were killed in the conflict — a figure much lower than that of 500 given by South Ossetian rebel authorities and that of over 1,500 given by Russian officials after the outbreak of hostilities.
“What is important is not the number. What is important is that we have established that there was a conscious and planned action to destroy the Ossetians as an ethnic group,” he said.
A senior Georgian official retorted that the accusation by Russian prosecutors was a “cynical lie.”
This article was posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 11:01 am