Although Georgia attacked Tskhinvali on August 7, which was “a mistake,” that was not the actual start of the war, Matthew Bryza, the U.S. deputy assistance secretary of state, has said.
“You know, we have our differences with the narrative coming out of Moscow about how this conflict began,” Bryza told journalists in Washington on September 3. “It did not begin on August 7th with the attack on Tskhinvali by Georgia, which we do believe was a mistake; but it began much sooner, thanks to provocations by South Ossetian militias, under the command, by the way, of Russian officers.”
“So Georgia did not launch a war. Georgia was drawn into one. It’s a peace-loving country,” he added.
Regarding Russian calls for an international arms embargo on Georgia, Bryza said that Georgia was “a sovereign state, a peaceful state, a democracy that has a right to develop its own military, to defend itself, as well as to contribute to Coalition operations as it did so effectively in Iraq.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told journalists on September 3 that Russia was not honoring its commitments under the six-point ceasefire agreement, brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“Russia has not yet carried out the obligations that President Medvedev has repeatedly given as assurances to the French president,” she said. “It’s high time that Russia met its obligations to the ceasefire to withdraw its forces, to – if it is going to carry out additional security measures, they need to be in accordance with the Sarkozy understandings. And that is not for Russia to be setting up checkpoints along Georgian highways, standing at Georgian ports, which are international commercial entities, and interfering with normal commerce and traffic.”