A decade ago today, Russia went to war with Georgia. It was the first time, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, that Russia had invaded a foreign country. The West’s response was weak, and this emboldened Vladimir Putin. We have been dealing with consequences ever since.
On the night of 7-8 August 2008, Russia sent its armed forces to repel a Georgian attack on South Ossetia, a separatist region within Georgia. Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s hot-headed president, had come to power in 2004 promising to re-unite his country. The attack on Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s main city, was meant to be the start of this.
Instead, it gave the Kremlin an opportunity to act out Putin’s fantasy of making Russia great again. Over the following week, Russia routed Georgian forces, pushing them back towards Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital. Along the way, Russian troops destroyed infrastructure, blocked key roads, and bombed towns. It also expanded the war into Abkhazia, another separatist region.
Read more in The Times.