A year after the war in South Ossetia the politicians are still bickering, while church leaders are trying to promote peace (Hat-tip to ROCOR UNITED: Independent report blames Georgia for South Ossetia war.
A new report commissioned by the EU said that Georgia started the South Ossetia conflict last summer, but also found Russia’s response illegal. Both Georgia and Russia have claimed the report supports their version.
According to the report, carried out by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini and presented to the European Union on Wednesday, there is no evidence to support Georgia’s claim that Russia had already sent troops to annex South Ossetia before Georgia began its attack on the region’s capital Tskhinvali on the night of August 7/8 2008.
‘There was no ongoing armed attack by Russia before the start of the Georgian operation,’ the report said. ‘There is the question of whether the use of force by Georgia in South Ossetia … was justifiable under international law. It was not.’
And while the politicians are still trying to score points off each other, church leaders have been trying to bring peace. Directions to Orthodoxy – Russian, Georgian patriarchs plea for peace year after Ossetia war:
Orthodox church leaders from Russia and Georgia called for peace while their political counterparts lobbed charges of aggression in marking the one year anniversary of the South Ossetia war.
The Russian and Georgian patriarchs also commemorated the victims of the short, brutal war over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church and Patriarch Ilia II of the Georgian Orthodox Church stressed the common spiritual heritage of the warring sides, continuing the line taken last year by Ilia and the late Patriarch Aleksei II of the Russian Orthodox Church, who had sought reconciliation as the conflict raged.
At a panikhida, or memorial service, at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on 8 August, a year after Georgia is said to have begun shelling the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, Patriarch Kirill said that the war, which he called the result of ‘aggression set off by evil political will’, was ‘a tragedy of three fraternal Orthodox peoples’.