Following the opposition’s reaction to the report by EU-funded August war inquiry mission, President Saakashvili again commented on the matter on two separate occasions on October 2 asserting that the report confirmed what Georgia had been saying about the war and its causes.
Speaking at a ceremony of awarding Lithuania's first post-Soviet head of state, Vytautas Landsbergis, with St. Georgia’s Order in Tbilisi, Saakashvili said that “for the first time in the history permanent member of the UN Security Council has been directly accused of war crimes.”
Unlike his first comments on the August war report made on October 1, in his recent remarks on the matter, Saakashvili spoke more about the part of the report which says that
“shelling” of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of August 7-8 “marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict.
“I want to say again with full responsibility – it was a holy duty of mine and all of us to respond with all type of resistance, when a foreign country’s army enters into your country,” he said.
And in separate remarks also made on October 2, at a live televised outdoor meeting with some local residents of Mtskheta, close to Tbilisi, Saakashvili said: “We do not need to be taught by anyone. We are grateful to the Europe for saying the truth… But we have acted like England, Germany or France would have acted.”
“Those who have not fired shot they have disappeared from the map… Finland fired and maintained its independence,” Saakashvili said referring to Soviet attack on Finland in 1939. “Our historic experience tells us that when the enemy enters into your territory you should resist it, like Finland did it.”
Below is an extract from Saakashvili’s remarks made at awarding ceremony of Vytautas Landsbergis:
“I want to return back to this topic again and again, because this is very important issue.
This report has confirmed that everything what we have been saying about the last year’s events was true.
We have been saying that Russia entered and was arming separatists and was provoking – and it turned out to be true. We have been saying that passportization [process by Russia of the residents of the breakaway regions] was ongoing and it has been confirmed. We have been saying that they [Russia] had no citizens in Georgia to protect and it has been confirmed. We have been saying and I have been saying – putting my reputation on stake – that the Russian regular forces entered into Georgia before August 7 – hence the military aggression took place and it has also been confirmed by this [EU-funded fact-finding] commission. The most difficult was to confirm it, because it [reference to presence of Russian regular forces] was done covertly, but our teams and our friends worked very well and it was confirmed.
Of course after having all these confirmed, it already a prepared accusatory conclusion; for the first time in the history permanent member of the UN Security Council has been directly accused of war crimes; it has been directly accused of ethnic cleansing – hence crimes against humanity – and of aggression.
It was a fact-finding mission; the commission’s task was not to make conclusions. But the mission anyway made conclusions and eventually said: yes, it was all this way, but although the Russian forces were already present in Georgia, but it was Georgia who fired the first shot, which is a violation of certain norms.
I might have better law professors in the international law, than some of the European experts, who made this conclusion, are. But professors are not at all required, as well as much knowledge – any first-grade student can tell you, that when a foreign country’s army – the army of the country, which openly threatens you with war for many years, which in fact is conducting war – and the commission said that this conflict did not start yesterday; and when its paratroopers’ units enter into Georgia – it is called a directed military aggression by a foreign country.
But saying this, it means that it [apparently referring to Europe] must handcuff and arrest them [apparently referring to the Russian leadership]; but they are not able to do that.
Some of our compatriots have no self-respect to acknowledge that this is so.
Our truth has been proved and we should be happy about it and struggle to achieve our country’s de-occupation. The truth will find its road.
The aggression by Russia is now actually proved; ‘actually’ - because giving a full explanation of that would mean that the entire Europe should stand up, but we have no illusion that it will happen in a day or two, because they have lot of bitter experience in this regard.
I want to say again with full responsibility – it was a holy duty of mine and all of us to respond with all type of resistance, when a foreign country’s army enters into your country.
We did it and I do not regret it a bit.
I am proud and it was proved that not a single woman and child have been killed – to say nothing about genocide – as a result of our operation.
Our peaceful struggle for de-occupation will continue until this struggle is finally over.
I want to ask those people, who do not want to face the reality – how would France have acted in this situation? how would Germany have acted?
As we know from history, the Spanish Armada entered to the British coast and the British were the first shoot at Armada; so was it Britain to have started the war or was it Spain? Maybe, everything what is correct for Europe is not correct for Georgia?
I think that everything what is done by civilized nations is exactly applicable for our country as well. So what if we are a small country? We are a small country but we have history and civilization, as well as bravery greater than many other countries.
The fate of all freedom-loving nations, including Lithuania is being solved in Georgia today. We have no illusion that they [Russia] will leave us alone, but we will not say no to our progress in order to create democratic and free state.”