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Vano Merabishvili minimises military losses2008-10-24 15:44
According to him, "only a few computers, air-conditioners and toilets have disappeared from Ministry of Internal Affairs units in Georgia. During the fighting the police lost two armoured cars, two pick-up trucks and three UAZ vehicles."
"The Russians took some armoured vehicles away from the Gori military base which had been damaged during the war in Tskhinvali and had been brought there to be repaired. Unfortunately, some of them were destroyed during the war," lamented the minister. The Russians were not able to take a single working vessel from the port of Poti, one boat was sunk by the police while it was on the move. Out of all the ships that were destroyed by the Russians in Poti, not a single one was functioning."
Georgia's authorities have apparently decided to rewrite the August events with hindsight. Last week the Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili told a European Union military attaché about Georgia's great victories: "Russia is hiding the true military losses which it incurred in Georgia," he informed. "Our small but steadfast army inflicted enormous casualties on Russia. This is exactly what the reforms to Russia's army are connected with. Georgia shot down 17 planes in August. Moreover, whilst 180 of its own soldiers were killed, it wiped out up to two thousand Russian soldiers."
Overall, Georgia's army initially won the war, and then heroically fled. In order to get back Abkhazia and South Ossetia when Russia is somewhat weaker. It is interesting to observe how Georgia's government communications have changed. At the end of August the very same Merabishvili was appealing for the West to put pressure on Russia for it to stop "robbing Georgian army depots". Now it emerges that the ministry was regretting the loss of a few computers and air-conditioners.
At the time Washington, as usual, supported Georgian democracy. The State Department demanded that captured weaponry manufactured by the Americans be returned to Tbilisi. The West's intercession, as usual, did not help. Russia did not return a single cartridge to Georgia.
Whilst Merabishvili was bemoaning the loss of the toilets, "Ossetian separatists" rewarded the mayor of the Russian town of Megion Aleksandr Kuz'min with an unusual present. In exchange for humanitarian aid they indulged the mayor with a captured Georgian tank. Kuz'min promised to place it in the city as "a stern reminder that any disagreements should be resolved by peaceful means". Admittedly, at the moment the tank is standing on the grounds of a Tskhinvali boarding school along with other captured junk which South Ossetia came into. The authorities are thinking about how they can drag the booty from the Caucasus to the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region.
Incidentally, back in August Russia's General Staff compiled a full inventory of the military technology which it seized in Georgia. 65 tanks, 15 infantry fighting vehicles, 5 air-defence systems, 6 Turkish armoured transporters, 2 Czech and 16 boats of various purposes. Plus 3937 pieces of basic weaponry and 7 million pieces of ammunition. These riches can still be seen in the tank museum in Kubinka near Moscow.
Still, the Georgian authorities have found some consolers. The first one appeared on 23rd October in the press centre for the Georgian Defence Ministry. The American military-industrial corporation Northrop Grumman is offering to work with the Georgian defence ministry to develop its national air defence system.