According to the statement of 16 August 2008 of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation, subdivisions of the Ministry have started withdrawal of ethnic Georgian population from the Tskhinvali region in the direction of Gori.
“We are faced with a new wave of ethnic cleansing of Georgians conducted under military-occupation regime by the Russian Federation, this time through the involvement of Russian state structures. We would like to focus the international community’s attention on the fact that the Russian Authorities have recently been making an increasing number of statements on the necessity of taking into consideration the will of the region’s population. The ethnic cleansing of Georgians seems to be a method by which Moscow expects to attain awaited results,” says ministry of foreign affairs of Georgia.
Despite the international community’s efforts and the signing of documents on cessation of hostilities, the Russian Federation’s armed forces continue military actions against Georgia, destroying civilian infrastructure. On 16 August 2008 troops of the Russian occupation army mined and exploded the Metekhi-Grakali span of the railway bridge in the Kaspi district. This subversive-terrorist act resulted in the severing of railway links between the east and west of Georgia and connections with Georgia’s seaports. Moreover, the bridge used to provide a route for refugees from the Russian-occupied territories into safe places.
According to information provided by ministry of foreign affairs of Georgia, Russia is pursuing deliberate policy aimed at undermining Georgia’s statehood, including through bringing about humanitarian catastrophe. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on the international community and friend countries to take urgent measures to avert humanitarian catastrophe in Georgia and prevent destruction of Georgia’s statehood.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Anatoly Nogovitsyn denied the fact of bridge blast and said: “I state with fully responsibility – it is ruled out.” With respect to this statement of Anatoly Nogovitsyn, every organization or physical person concerned may check this video for video footage of the exploded bridge.
Russian forces have “changed their mind” about leaving the flashpoint Georgian town of Gori and are not withdrawing, a Georgian interior ministry spokesman told AFP Thursday.”All night they said they would leave and now they have changed their mind. Georgian forces have stopped (going to Gori) to avoid clashes with the Russians,” Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told AFP.
An AFP reporter on the road about 30 kilometers from the town witnessed from 15 to 20 Georgian armored personnel carriers go through a police checkpoint towards Gori. But he then saw them pulled up by the side of the road a little further on. Utiashvili said earlier that Georgian forces would retake control of Gori after a pledge from the Russian military that its forces would begin to withdraw. An AFP reporter saw about 20 Georgian police patrol cars carrying heavily armed officers arrive in Gori earlier in the day. Russian officials had said their pullout from the city, 85 kilometers northwest of Tbilisi, would be completed within two days. According to residents fleeing Gori Wednesday, the city was the scene of looting and violence as Russian troops and South Ossetia militiamen moved onto the streets.