Relatives of Oleg Golovanov, a Russian soldier killed during the fighting between Georgia and Russia, mourned during his funeral in Vladikavkaz, Russia. (Photo by The New York Times)
International reporting is definitely improving, but the holes are still major. For example, it is said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the Russians tried to bomb the Georgian oil pipeline, but there is no actual reporting to sustain this claim. Likewise, there is a reporting lacuna on what exactly precipitated the Georgian shelling of Tskhinvali. What exact provocations were they responding to? Their own story on this deserves to be heard. Was it something specific or general, or what? Did the Russians agitate the Ossetian militia; if so, how?
So, when did the "war" begin?
Meanwhile, there is no doubt that we have seen a serious diplomatic and political debacle for Georgia, the U.S. and even Russia, and to an extent, the European Union. Gratefully, the war--once it had been engaged--does not seem to have realized the extent of killing feared early on. It could have been worse. Of course, if you or someone you know is one of the statistics, that is no consolation.
Meanwhile, per Yuri Mamchur we learn that Gazeta.ru quotes Russian Health Ministry, Georgian Health Ministry, and Defense Ministries:
Russian losses (according to the Russians):
South Ossetian civilian losses:
1,500 -- 3,000 -- unconfirmed until collected by the Russians and/or the international community.
401 asked for medical attention, out of these 369 are hospitalized, including 62 children (confirmed by the Russians).
Georgian losses (according to the Georgians):
130 dead citizens total
1,165 total injured
No info on who is military who is civilian
Nearly 7,000-8,000 Georgian troops participated in the attack on Tshinvali, later joined by 800 from Iraq.
Meanwhile, Western news reports say 20,000 Russians and 600 tanks invaded Georgia.
If there was "ethnic cleansing" or executions on either side, we should learn about that. If not, we should confirm that.
Bruce Chapman served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations Organizations in Vienna, Austria from 1985 through 1988.