Ukrainian success sparks hope of reclaiming territory in north Georgia

by Tommy Dickman

The latest Ukrainian counter offensive in the past few weeks has made impressive progress gaining back over 9000 km². But it also has highlighted the gross mismanagement of Russian troops in the war, and the world has seen it. Russia has made many enemies with surrounding nations, including Georgia. They lost territory in Abkhazia and south Ossetia. But recently Georgian officials have entertained the idea of holding a public referendum on opening up a new front to take advantage of a weakened Russian army.

The build up to the war first began after Georgia declared independence from the USSR in 1991. Afterwards the semi-autonomous regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia were the setting of pro-Russian separatist movements. In the time leading up to the war a ceasefire was in place, but on August first 2008 separatists started shelling nearby Georgian villages. In the days following loosely organised fire fights and shelling took place. A brief ceasefire was signed, but the separatists went back on the decision and continued to shell. At midnight Georgian troops were sent into South Ossetia.

The advance had taken South Ossetia briefly and fighting spread to Abkhazia. The Georgian offensive was quickly repulsed by the Russian army and on the 13th. A formal ceasefire was signed. Russia formally recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, instilling a military occupation. But the people of Georgia look to the current failed Russian invasion with hope that maybe they can reunite their people once more. But for now it is up to Tbilisi to decide on further action with the proposed referendum.

Map from Google Maps.

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