Eight years have passed since the short but brutal Russia-Georgia war in 2008, which claimed many lives and resulted in the occupation of 20 percent Georgia's land by Russia and left more than 190,000 people displaced.
Eight year since the war
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, August 9
“Georgia's peaceful reunification has no alternative,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said at the cemetery of the soldiers who died in the five day war.
The PM said that despite the fact that the war lasted only a few days, the country suffered a significant blow.
"Today is the 8th anniversary of one of the most tragic events of recent history. I bow to the memory of all the soldiers who died for our homeland in that unequal struggle. After this war, many of our citizens became internally displaced in our country. As a result of this war, we have become further distanced from the Abkhazians and Ossetians,” Kvirikashvili said.
According to Kvirikashvili, Georgia must continue its consistently peaceful policies towards the breakaway regions.
"We all have to make our country attractive and interesting. Also, with the international community's engagement, we should manage to unite our country. There is no alternative to peace,” the PM stated.
“Russia will have to constantly answer the question as to why it took such a bloody step against its small neighbour,” President Giorgi Margvelashvili told reporters at the cemetery.
The President said Russia would never be able to escape the injustice that it did against its neighbouring nation.
"We come here every year because we honour the heroes who defended our country physically and morally. Their heroism gives us hope for the future. Russia will never be able to escape the injustice that it did against its neighbouring nation. This black spot will always be on Russia,” Margvelahsvili stated.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has released a statement over the tragic day.
The statement reads that Russia continues the illegal occupation of the regions of a sovereign and independent state in violation of international law and the commitments of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
After the war, Russia recognized Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics and still continues its occupation of both territories.
After five days of conflict, 228 Georgian civilians, 170 soldiers and 14 police officers lost their lives.
The war displaced 192,000 people in Georgia. Many were able to return to their homes after the war but as of May 2014, more than 20,200 people remain displaced.