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Part of important confessions about preparation and realization of aggression the Russian generals accurately presented in e film “Lost Day of War”.
Among the confessions made by the generals, two main parts should be underlined:
- Confessions, associated with the development of Plan of Aggression; and
- Confessions, related to actual implementation of the Plan of Aggression.
Confessions on development of the Plan of Aggression
1. Long before the realization of the aggression itself, the General Staff of Russian Army under the leadership of General Baluyevsky (head of Gen. Staff in 2004-08) developed a plan of attack on Georgia, in Baluyevsky’s terminology - "The system of repelling aggression," "Adequate means ..." (5:40-5:50), also "established mechanism" (14:15), in future called - the "Plan of aggression" or in short – the "Plan".
2. Political co-author of the Plan of aggression against Georgia, as well as the person who approved the plan, was Vladimir Putin. According to Baluyevsky, Putin "delved into the details, was personally involved, was not simply questioning or listening reports, but also raised problems, sometimes almost every week" (5:50-6:15). "The decision on the possible use of Russian armed forces" was taken by Putin (13:10-13:20).
"On a paper “Adequate methods’’... Putin wrote: “Agree'" (31:50-32:50). The Plan of aggression was also approved (reconfirmed) by Dmitry Medvedev. According to Baluyevsky, Medvedev "should have said just one word:" ‘’ act in accordance with the plan, which I approved '"(25:10-25:25).
3. As part of the plan " resource base was established" for aggression (6:15) (including, sending Russian military experts to Tskhinvali, training of the South Ossetian fighters, filling up South Ossetia with arms and ammunition, construction of military bases in the South Ossetian part of the territory of Georgia, " military units redeployed closer to the Roki tunnel " (6:20), "a lot of work was invested there, the troops were completely prepared to fulfill the tasks" (6:50-7:10, 7:20), "a lot of work had been done before 2008, exercises conducted on the eve, all the efforts of the military, who were preparing for this operation for years" (14:00-14:15).
4. Terms for the "absolute" preparation of troops for implementing the Plan were set for the year 2007 (7:10-7:20). As it was established in 2008-09, the date for readiness of the troops, according to the original Plan of aggression, was December 1, 2007
5. The Plan considered implementation of "victorious blitzkrieg." By the summer of 2008 it became clear that its implementation is "not far off." For some time, it was not completely determined in which direction to start fighting - in Abkhazia or South Ossetia. In summer 2008, the General Staff chose in favor of South Ossetia. Start date of the operation "was defined from July to September." A key role in choosing the timing of the operation was played by the "Beijing Olympic Games" (8:00-9:25, 21:45-21:50).
6. Order to implement the Plan was sealed in packages that were "on the table of operational duty" army units, which were intended to participate in the aggression (6:25). Packages should be opened after receiving the signal "War!"
7. In accordance with the plan, signal for giving the order should have been the first shell, bomb, or beginning of fire from the Georgian side: "according to a System of repelling aggression, approved by Putin, with the first explosion of a shell or a bomb, an order should be given to use force, in terms of using troops" (13:20-13:35).
8. The Plan, prepared by the General Staff and approved by Putin and Medvedev, envisaged applying "decisive pre-emptive strike" on Georgia (13:35-13:50, 23:35-25:05). V. Boldyrev (former Land Troops Chief) and Baluyevsky artlessly expressed regret that the original Plan for applying the "preventive strike" could not be realized (13:50-14:05).
9. In accordance with the Plan approved by Putin, its implementation had to begin with the use of aviation. During the 1 – 1,5 hours after receiving the signal, Russian Air Forces were to bomb "pre-determined targets" in Georgia: "In our adequate measures" in the initial phase ... was the use of aviation assets ... within 1-1,5 hours [bombing] airfields, points of dislocation, artillery positions, routes , bridges. On this document, Putin wrote: "Agree'" (31:50-33:40).
10. According to the Plan within 6 hours after receiving the order, Russian troops had to be in Tskhinvali (6:35-6:45, 18:55-19:15).
Confessions on implementation of the Plan of Aggression
1. Despite the fact that the signal for giving order on starting hostilities had to be the first firing of positions of South Ossetian fighters from the Georgian units, mutual attacks that firing at South Ossetian guerillas by Georgian side, the cross-fire that took place on June 14 (9:25-9:50), August 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, 2008 (9:50-10:10), did not result in giving such order. The reason of not giving the order, as envisaged in the Plan, probably was the absence on the territory of expected military action of all of the Russian military units, scheduled to participate in aggression,
Start of movement of military units to the planned initial positions, including crossing the Russian-Georgian state border by two battalions of the tactical forces of the 58th army on the night of the 6th to 7th August, and placing them “in the mountains of South Ossetia" north of the town of Java, ensured fulfillment of the last prerequisite for signal "War!".
2. Each step in the escalation of tensions, which was leading to a full-scale war, was carefully recorded by M. Kulakhmetov, the Commander of Joint Peacekeeping Forces and delivered to the Russian leadership (15:10-15:15, 23:55-24:10).
So, between 14.00 and 15.00 on August 7 Kulakhmetov recorded Georgian officers leaving the headquarters of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces and representative of Georgian peacekeepers Colonel Urushadze stopping communication (10:50-11:20). Around the same time two Georgian peacekeepers were killed by shelling from the South Ossetian militants. Instead of beginning immediate negotiations with the Georgian leadership, which at that time was unsuccessfully attempting to contact the Russian authorities in order to stop the unfolding war, Kulakhmetov and Russian leadership had ignored those efforts, and continued preparations for full-scale aggression.
At 19.00 Russian positions recorded movement of Georgian military convoys, at 21.00 "hundreds of cars were seen" (11:20-11:40). All this time, the Russian political and military leadership had every opportunity to avoid war, the death of civilians and Russian peacekeepers - it was enough just to answer calls of Saakashvili, or to call Tbilisi. But this was exactly not in Russia’s plans.
From 14:00 August 7 "the main point of the situation now became the Russian troops openly entering the South Ossetian part of the territory of Georgia" (11:50-12:00). "From the first minutes the invasion of Russian troops [into the territory of Georgia] was expected" (16:35-16:45). The Russian leadership planned implementation of the military actions, not stopping them by diplomatic means.
3. The signal "War!", which lead to start of full-scale hostilities by Russian army was given not by then President of Russia Medvedev (according to him, he had not yet received a report from the Minister of Defense), nor by former Prime Minister Putin (at the time he was in Beijing and could not control the events in the Caucasus in real time) (23:15-23:35, 26:10-27:30). The Russian forces received signal "War!" from general-major M. Kulakhmetov, who was the commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces. Kulakhmetov gave the signal no later than 23.50 on August 7 in the presence of Russian journalists, "lined up in front of the Headquarters of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces" in Tskhinvali. Apparently, Kulakhmetov made this public statement about start of the war deliberately, to use journalistic channels for the transmission of a coherent signal to the Russian leadership and to the command of the 58th Army, which was fully prepared by that time to carry out an attack on Georgia. Minutes later, at 00:00 Kulakhmetov sent the signal "War!" to the commander of the 58th Army, General A. Khrulev.
4. Signal for opening the packages with the sealed with the order to the start of full-scale hostilities was transferred to Centre of Control of Armed Forces of North Caucasian Military District at 23.58 on August 7 (18:55-19:10)
5. The Order on the beginning of full-scale hostilities was given to Russian Army at 00.03 August 8 by Khrulev and was confirmed by Commander of North Caucasian Military District S. Makarov.
6. Apparently, Medvedev and Putin were not directly involved in the immediate issue of orders on the night between 7 to 8 August, and their instructions and orders at the night and in the morning of August 8 were not of any significant character. However, the actions of the militaries were based on the Plan of Aggression, approved in advance by both - Putin and Medvedev.
Russian forces started full-scale hostilities at 23.58 on August 7, prior to informing Medvedev and Putin and without receiving any orders and instructions from them that night (26:10). Medvedev’s participation in the management of troops was limited to ordering the use of ballistic missiles "Iskander" against Georgia at about 4 am on August 8. Putin got involved in direct control of troops only in the evening of August 9.
7. Even according to Kulakhmetov, the first Russian peacekeepers - the APC crew sent by Kulakhmetov to” the line of separation" - were killed only "at 5.50 am" August 8 (19:25-19:35). In other words, a full-scale military action against Georgia by the Russian political and military leaders started at least 6 hours before the deaths of the Russian peacekeepers - the fact, which was offered by the official propaganda as a legend, supposedly justifying the invasion of Russian troops into Georgia.
8. In accordance with the Plan of Aggression, Russian troops had to be in Tskhinvali 6 hours after receiving the order to conduct full-scale hostilities (18:55-19:15), at about 6:00 am at least, according to Kulakhmetov, 7 -8 am August 8 (39:35-39:50). In reality, "the main Russian troops entered Tskhinvali only in early morning of August 10" (39:25-39:40), which is about two days later, the timeline envisaged in the Plan. One reason for the failure in the implementation of the original plan was the actions of the Georgian troops; in particular, the high effectiveness of the Georgian artillery, "on August 8 Georgian artillery dominated” (31:10-31:15).
9. The failure in the implementation of the original Plan, obviously, required a much larger number of military forces and military assets, than was envisaged originally in the Plan. Apparently, the military began to require from Medvedev a significant increase of troops and military operations’ scales (27:35-28:00, 28:50-29:40). It is not excluded, that for some period Medvedev was sticking to the original Plan for implementation of aggression against Georgia using predominantly North Caucasus Military Forces: "the commander of the district was told: "You are the Commander - you make decisions' "(34:00-35:50).
10. The danger of complete failure of long-prepared and carefully planned aggression against Georgia forced Putin to change his original plans to stay in Beijing during the military operation, and forced him to fly to Vladikavkaz in the evening of August 9. Once in place of management of military operations, Putin decided to seriously increase the number of applied forces and means, including using the forces from outside the North Caucasus Military District, as well as a significant escalation of the intensiveness and scale of operations. "Putin ... [personally] directed the course of the operation "(36:20:37.00). However, the "initial command was given with great delay" (35:40-35:50). "On August 9, everything fell into place. And above all, Russian army took its place in the war. The real turning point occurred on August 9"(39:50-40:00). The number of troops passing the Roki tunnel on the night of 9 to 10 August was significantly increased. Putin also gave troops the “new goals and objectives”, including, the “complete defeat of the armed forces of Georgia” and taking Tbilisi (40:30-40:50).
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