Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lavrov calls for embargo on arms to Georgia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country will “continue to seek to deprive the present Georgian regime of the potential and resources to do more mischief.” He called for an embargo on arms to the “Tbilisi regime.” While Lavrov said Russia's military has acted “efficiently and professionally”, eyewitnesses say the takeover of Georgian-held areas of South Ossetia in the first days of the war was accompanied by widespread looting and the killing of Georgian civilians.

A humanitarian convoy organized by the World Food Programme set out yesterday for Gori, seeking to deliver food through the humanitarian corridor Russia committed itself to providing in the ceasefire agreement signed last week.

Protest Rallies continue

A peaceful protest action is being held at the Russian checkpoint near Igoeti. Protestors are crying: ‘Georgia’, ‘Occupiers, leave Georgia’, ‘Stop Russia’ and ‘It’s time to go home’ among other slogans. A group of Georgian doctors has joined this spontaneous protest.

The protestors are talking to Russian soldiers at their post. Acute discussion are being held between them. Russian forces are disposed on the both sides of the main road, although they don’t intend to move towards Igoeti.

Another protest rally against Russian aggression has been held in Poti. The rally began in the central square of the city and moved towards the port area, with protestors carrying banners saying ’STOP!’, ‘Russia Keep Away From Us’ and ‘Russian Forces Leave Georgia!’. According to Poti mayor Vano Saghinadze, rallies against Russian aggression will continue until the Russian regular army leaves Georgian territory. Local residents, members and staff of the local authority and representatives of non-governmental organizations took part in the protest.

Russians release 62 hostages, promise to free 101 later

Russian aggressors have released 62 people taken hostage in the South Ossetia conflict zone and handed them over to the Georgian side today. Most of them are elderly women and men.

The Russian regular army claims it is holding 101 more Georgians, whom it plans to release later today.

Georgia Wins third Olympic Gold Medal

Georgia gained its third Olympic gold medal on August 21 after Revazi Mindorashvili defeated Tajikistan’s Yusup Abdusalomov in the Men's Freestyle Wrestling 84kg category. Mindorashvili advanced to the final by beating Russia’s Georgi Ketoev in the semi-final. Also on August 21, Giorgi Gogshelidze won a bronze medal in Men's Freestyle Wrestling 96kg category.

Georgia now has three golds and three bronzes so far at these games. Manuchar Kvirkvelia gave Georgia its first gold in the Men's Greco-Roman wrestling 74 kg category, swiftly followed by Irakli Tsirekidze in the Men’s 90kg Judo. Nino Salukvadze took bronze for Georgia in the women's 10m air pistol shooting and Otar Tushishvili clinched a bronze in the Men's Freestyle Wrestling 66 kg event.

Russian citizens return home via humanitarian corridor

Over 250 Russian citizens who had been visiting Georgia on business trips or holidays with relatives have returned to Russia via a humanitarian corridor organized by the South Ossetian Provincial Administration loyal to Tbilisi. The corridor was opened at the Larsi border point, bordering Vladikavkaz. The Russian Federation's embassy in Tbilisi has provided no help to its citizens.

The Chairman of the Provincial Administration, Dmitry Sanakoev, personally assisted the Russian citizens to return home safely. The Russians were taken across the border in minibuses. Most of them had traveled to Georgia illegally through the Roki Tunnel, but the Provincial Administration has pledged to assist any Russian citizens who have entered Georgia illegally to return home.