Ten years ago, in August 2008, the war in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, initiated by Russia against Georgia, started. Then, Russian aggression took hundreds of lives and left thousands displaced. The hybrid war that unfolded by the scenario that is so familiar to all Ukrainians, still lasts until this very day.
At that time, the Kremlin decided to ‘bravely defend” its own military bases located on the occupied Georgian territories under the slogan of “protection of the Russian-speaking population”. Exactly in the same way as it has been “protecting” Ukrainians against peace in the Crimea and Donbas.
The Commander of the Georgian Legion Mamuka Mamulashvili who is now fighting for Ukraine in Donbas, recalls the memories of those scary days.
– The world mostly thinks that the war started on the 8th of August. Still this is not quite true. Over the whole 2008 the situation in Georgia remained critical as Russia was continuously provoking and busy causing chaos. You might feel familiar to that condition. Then, Georgia was at peak of its economic development; all spheres were being actively reformed and the country was obviously getting stronger. Still Russia has been never satisfied with its neighbors who was more successful than it. The same thing happened to Ukraine. As soon as the neighbors chose an individual path and declared their independence, the Kremlin immediately occupied the Crimea and Donbas and started a bloody war.
– Two weeks before the direct invasion the occupiers shelled at Georgian cities and towns and carries out separate terroristic attacks – namely, they blew up the Georgian police vehicles. They had been preparing for the war for quite a long period of time. Under the guise of military drills, they concentrated all their capable troops on the Georgian border. Over three thousand pieces of military equipment and about a hundred thousand of manpower got ready for the invasion.
– During those terrifying August days I lost many friends who were serving in the army then. All happened in a flash. On the one hand, the country was plunged into chaos. People wandered along the streets notwithstanding where they were going to. People got extremely frightened. There were rumors that Russians shot civilians. Generally, it was true, providing Russia continuously bombed populated areas and city blocks. On the other hand, many volunteer teams were organized as Georgian men did not get lost for a minute and immediately stood up to defend their homeland.
– I know what fighting against Russians is. Yet in 1993 I got captured by them during the Abkhazian war, and stayed in captivity for three months. Together with my comrades and veterans we headed to list in volunteer battalions then. Likewise, together with many of them we are fighting for Ukraine. We support you because we do know what it feels like.
– For all ten years following the invasion, Russia has been continuously maintaining “creeping” or disguised occupation of Georgia. The conditional contact line of barbed wire has been persistently moved forward which leads to biting off entire villages. They move the occupation line towards the main road connecting Adzharia to the rest of Georgia, thus trying to cut the whole region off. There are unceasing protests throughout the resistance areas because of that disguised occupation of Georgian territory. Russian military has been kidnapping locals more and more often. They catch ordinary shepherds, local villagers, even women and kids. It is apparent that they established an official tariff for a kidnapped person which makes about 3–5 thousand dollars. In this way Russian military located along the occupation line, are making money on this.
– Since then Georgia has been incessantly preparing for the enemy’s attack. The assault of the same kind – a disguised and mean one. We are gradually enforcing our troops; lately, an unprecedented quantity of our military equipment has been employed in the conjoint drills with Germany and the USA. Hopefully, it will stay here to defend our boundaries for some more time. We are sure that soon this evil empire will be destroyed, and Georgia and Ukraine will get freedom they deserve.