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War chronicle. Salvation from the North09.08.2011 | 11:35
The "blitzkrieg" failed: a sudden treacherous attack on defenseless Tskhinval did not help arrogant Georgian warriors take the capital of South Ossetia by assault. On August 9 the town slightly calmed down. Besides, Georgia decided to reinforce its positions scared of the approaching Russian army. Russia indeed was on the way to save South Ossetians with Moscow preparing to call the presumptuous aggressor to account.
August 9, 1 am. An air strike hits the Georgian port of Poti and a military base in Senaki. A short time after Tbilisi announces immediate evacuation of strategic facilities including Saakashvili's residence.
2 am. Russian peacekeepers lose 15 persons as dead, the Georgian artillery units continue to keep their positions under fire. Tskhinval meets the 58th army that comes into position to start a peace-enforcement operation for Georgia. Simultaneously special force units rapidly deploy in the capital of South Ossetia.
8 am. Georgians bring a convoy of the injured under fire. Soldiers of the 58th army get through to positions of the peacekeepers in the capital of South Ossetia.
11 am. Russia's air force shells the Georgian artillery near Gori. The 58th army expects reinforcements: soldiers of the 76th and 98th air-borne divisions enter South Ossetia.
Noon. There are no more Georgian soldiers in Tskhinval with Russian troops completely ousting them out of town. Injured peacekeepers and civilians who were in the middle of the assault are preparing to be evacuated to a safer place.
3 pm. First captives among surrendered Georgians soldiers.
Saakashvili's troops abandon their positions retreating. Dmitry Medvedev holds talks with US president George Bush stating that Russia will defend life and dignity of its citizens.
8 pm. Georgian troops are trying to take control of Zar route connecting South and North Ossetias. Mass media report that Saakashvili is preparing a new assault.
Witnesses from Tskhinval recall the second day of the war:
Vitaly Margiev: On August 9 I decided to come back home where I had a gun I wanted to take with me. My mother, an elderly woman, lives farther away from my house. I needed to see her too. When I reached the center of the village, Georgians caught me and started interrogating where the head of the police department lives demanding to show his home. I said I did not know, that I had never been in his house. Then they asked where all young people were, where defense officers had gone. I said: "They've gone to the north, in the direction of Java, you can follow them!" Then they dragged me down to the source and beat me. All subsequent events are like a dream to me. I lost consciousness now and then, but I still remember certain things. Georgians left when they were told that Russians were coming. We were near a mill then, so they got in their cars and went off.
Pliev Vyacheslav Vladimirovich, born in 1958, resident of Tskhinval:
On the night of August 7-8, 2008 I was home with my daughter. My son, like all other guys was at watch. At about midnight we heard an explosion that made me start. I wanted to look out of the window. I thought it all was very close to us. But I could not move: powerful explosions continued without a pause.
My daughter and I went down into the cellar. She was panic-stricken; I could not calm her down. I did not think about myself then. I was afraid for my children. Though my daughter was with me, and my son was far away - I could not help either of them. Mobile connection was already off, and we could not phone my son. I didn't know what was happening to him. All kind of thoughts were running through my head.
In the morning I looked out to see if there was anyone alive. From a distance I could see Georgian tanks shelling the city. Locals were shooting back. My heart shrank with pain, with helplessness. Our boys were trying to oppose the Georgian army having only submachine guns in their hands. Everything around was on fire, a terrible fog hung in the air. Back to the cellar I started to calm down my daughter saying all would be over soon, that the Russian army was on its way. In the meantime I prayed to God that we may survive.
Our neighbors started taking their children out of the republic. Yet, many failed to reach Vladikavkaz: they were living targets for Georgian sharpshooters on the road. For them it didn't matter whom to kill - a child, an old man or a woman. The main goal was to kill as many Ossetians as possible.
An imperishable memory to the guys that sacrificed their lives for our independence, for the future of the Republic of South Ossetia.
We thank Russia for not having abandoned us.
Jioeva Zamira Amiranovna, born in 1961, a resident of Tskhinval