Russia claims 2,000 South Ossetian civilians have been killed in last few days, which it said amounted to “genocide.”
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told President Medvedev that accounts of S.Ossetian refugees he had met in Vladikavkaz indicated they were victims of “genocide.”
Putin met with Medvedev late on August 9 after traveling to North Ossetia.
“What they are telling, those episodes they are telling, goes far beyond the understanding of combat actions. These are already elements of genocide of the Ossetian people… an obvious crime committed against the peaceful population,” Putin said while meeting with the Russian President. “It would be correct if you give an instruction to the military prosecutor’s office to document cases of this type, especially in the light of the fact that major part of the South Ossetian population is the Russian citizens.”
“I of course will give such an instruction,” President Medvedev responded, “because the prosecutor’s office has to probe into all of these cases. We are speaking about the faith of our citizens. All those crimes committed there should be very thoroughly documented and, subsequently, should be very thoroughly analyzed and perpetrators must be held responsible.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said after the Security Council session Moscow believed it was “genocide” of the South Ossetian people that happened in the region in last few days.
“One member of the [Security] Council said [during the discussions] asking: do you think it’s sort of up to the level of genocide and I said its small people – 100,000 maybe slightly more – 2,000 [have been] killed; is not it enough for you? [There are] 30,000 refugees; is not it enough for you,” Churkin said.
“How many people have to be killed there for you to qualify that as genocide? It is clearly regarded by South Ossetians as genocide for obvious reasons; it is clearly a humanitarian disaster for them when their main town is destroyed; so we do regard this as something, which has all the elements of genocide and war crimes situation.”
Officials in Tbilisi say that the Russia’s groundless accusation was a Soviet-type attempt to justify its large-scale military aggression against Georgia.