On February 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an oral assault on the conflict in Ukraine during a rare interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson. Georgia, the former Soviet state with which it is still at odds a decade after the 2008 conflict, was the target of his jab.

Putin’s Interview Updates : Putin urged the US and Ukraine to consider peace while reiterating that his nation was prepared for talks, after his discussion of US assistance to Ukraine and how it may have led to the needless prolongation of the conflict. The interview’s complete transcript was made public by the Kremlin.

Putin responded to Carson by stating that mercenaries from Georgia, Poland, and the US were fighting for Ukraine. Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in 2022, this may be the first time the Russian president has spoken out against Georgia in such a combative and unrepentant manner.

A few months into the invasion, media reports implied that a number of Georgian nationals, stirred up by the crisis of 2008, had gone to Ukraine to join the fight against Russia. It is commonly known that hundreds of mercenary fighters have been used in the conflict by both Russia and Ukraine.

The “Georgian Legion,” the group that Russia has charged, was founded in 2014 when Russian troops invaded Crimea in response to rebellion that the Kremlin had instigated in the Donbas region of Ukraine. Ten Georgian officers who volunteered to fight and train Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of the conflict with Russia are said to have created it.

Published reports from the previous year stated that the legion had been merged into the Ukrainian armed forces and that its estimated strength was between 800 and 1,000 soldiers, evenly divided between ethnic Georgians and a variety of other ethnic groups.

Giorgi, a former public worker from Georgia who is now a combatant, told Sky News that “it is the same fight for us; the enemy is the same in Georgia and Ukraine.” Countless anecdotes abound in which the Georgian people express the same feelings as the beleaguered Ukrainians.

In October of last year, Mamuka Mamulashvili, the leader of the Georgian Legion fighting in Ukraine, was placed on a wanted list by the Russian Interior Ministry. According to the ministry, “Mamulashvili is wanted under a criminal article. He was prosecuted in absentia in Russia as part of the case of recruitment and participation of mercenaries in hostilities on the side of the Ukrainian armed forces.”

Over seventy Georgian Legion soldiers were charged in absentia in Russia. The Russian Investigative Committee found that Mamulashvili had openly declared his intention to kill and torture Russian personnel and accused the combatants from the Georgian Legion of crimes against Russian forces.

These results have been denied by the legion. There were rumors that the legion commander had been removed in January of this year.

Even while Americans and Poles make up the majority of foreigners fighting alongside the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Georgians also make up one of the greatest groups of foreigners killed in Ukraine while battling Russians.

It is worth considering why, in spite of the government’s lack of decisive action against Moscow following the war in Ukraine, Georgians are so eager to put their lives in danger and fight Russia. The solution is found in history, specifically in a conflict that the nation faced in 2008 at Russia’s request.

Why Are Georgians Fighting Russia?

For many Georgian warriors, the war in Ukraine is merely another phase in their protracted struggle with Russia, against which they fought a war in 2008 and which continues to arm two of Georgia’s separatist territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia has backed a separatist movement in South Ossetia, where it has a significant impact. South Ossetians were blamed for aiding the Russian government when the Russian Army invaded Georgia in the early 1920s.

As a result, it was turned into an independent region inside Soviet Georgia, whereas North Ossetia, located on the other side of the Caucasus Mountains, continued to be a part of Russia.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Georgia won its independence from Moscow in the beginning of the 1990s. Following episodes of violence, South Ossetia proclaimed its independence from Georgia in 1992.

After sporadic fighting, Russia, South Ossetia, and Georgia reached a ceasefire agreement that year, which led to the deployment of a three-way peacekeeping force in the area. There was harmony until 2004 when South Ossetia’s reintegration was the goal of Mikhail Saakashvili’s presidential election.

In a referendum, the South Ossetians, however, rejected the idea. The Georgian government was even more incensed by reports that the separatists in South Ossetia were receiving constant assistance from the Kremlin.

Former Soviet state Georgia said in the summer of 2008 that it intended to join the European Union, a move it believed would lead to membership in the anti-Russian North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This was the beginning of it all.

The Kremlin was agitated when NATO announced at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that it would admit Georgia and Ukraine as members. Tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi began to rise as a result of Russia’s dislike of anything similar occurring in its area.

Soon after, accusations of a military build-up were made by both sides. By now, Russia had acknowledged the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another insurgent region. It was thought that Russia helped these oblasts declare their independence from Georgia.

There were rumors in early August 2008 that Russia had moved its military hardware to South Ossetia in preparation for an invasion. Reports of shelling by soldiers backed by Russia also surfaced.

International investigations reveal that on August 7, when the Georgian Armed Forces entered South Ossetia, a battle broke out between the two sides.

Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, who oversaw the European Union’s investigation, stated, “In the Mission’s view, it was Georgia which triggered the war when it attacked Tskhinvali (in South Ossetia) with heavy artillery on the night of 7 to 8 August 2008.”

On August 8, Russia began a counteroffensive after accusing Georgia of committing genocide against the South Ossetian population. According to reports, Russian soldiers penetrated well into Georgia, taking control of the main east-west road, the Black Sea port of Poti, and the strategically important garrison town of Gori. As a result, about 100,000 citizens were displaced on both sides A military airport and army bases being bombed by Russian aircraft.

Russian and South Ossetian forces assaulted Georgian forces in and around South Ossetia for many days until the Georgian troops withdrew. A second front was established when Russian and Abkhaz forces invaded the Kodori Gorge, which was defended by the Georgian army.

A section of Georgia’s Black Sea coastline was blockaded by Russian naval forces. Both inside and beyond the war zone, targets were bombed by the Russian air force.

Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia on August 26, and the Georgian

Russia was cut off diplomatically by the government. After a considerable amount of time, Russia effectively completed withdrawing its forces from parts of Georgia that were not in dispute on October 8.

The Georgians remained angry with Russia for dividing their land even after the war ended. According to reports, several veterans of the 2008 conflict volunteered to fight the Russians in Ukraine when they began a military offensive.

A number of observers have also noted that Russia was given more confidence to invade Ukraine in 2022 and grab Crimea in 2014 due to the impunity with which it fled the Georgian War.

By newsparviews.com

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