Russian Official: 162 S.Ossetians Killed in War
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Dec.'08 / 16:29

Aleksandr Bastrikin, chairman of an investigative committee with the Russian prosecutor's office, said that the committee had collected full data of 162 residents of South Ossetia who had been killed in the August war, the Russian news agencies reported.

Shortly after the war broke out the Russian and South Ossetian authorities started leveling accusations that Georgia carried out genocide of South Ossetians, killing from 1,500 to 2,000 civilians in the attack on the region. Georgia said the allegation was Soviet-type propaganda to justify Russia’s full-scale invasion of the sovereign country.

Aleksandr Bastrikin said at a news conference in Moscow on December 23, that number was not important. “The important is that this action by Georgia was pre-planned, which gives us ground in the future to qualify actions of the Georgian military leadership and the Georgian army as aggression, which was directed at destroying the South Ossetian people as an ethnic group,” Bastrikin said.

He also said that more than 5,000 South Ossetian residents were considered to be "victims" of the war.

Bastrikin said that investigation into, as Russia describes it, Georgia’s aggression into South Ossetia would continue until April, 2009.

He also said that the investigation had found out that mercenaries from the U.S., Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Turkey fought on the Georgian side during the August war.

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