The events of early August 2008 changed the map of the Caucasus forever. The five-day war unleashed by Georgia against its former republic of South Ossetia left the region devastated, blocking any chance of reconciliation in the foreseeable future.
A remembrance ceremony for the victims of the conflict is taking place on the central square of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinval. It started on Sunday at 11:35 pm – the time when Georgia opened fire three years ago. Locals, who were literally thrown out of their beds, say they had never expected such a sudden attack.
“War always presupposes death, suffering and pain,” a young woman attending the ceremony told RT. “No reasoning can bring back the lives of the innocent people… Human life is very precious, and we can’t afford being irresponsible when it comes to it. We can’t kill people over territory or borders, or any other reason that our governments choose to use.”
“The Georgian aggression and the tough policy of Saakashvili evoke my deepest resentment,” another visitor said. “I think we should all live in peace and try to find ways of communicating other than war.”
Hundreds have come to light candles and pray for those who died in the region three years ago in a brief but deadly conflict. Memorial services will continue on Monday throughout the city.
Late on August 7, 2008, Georgian troops began shelling Tskhinval. On the following day, Russia intervened and repelled the attacked. Before the war ended five days later, hundreds of Ossettians had lost their lives.