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EU war report says Georgia initiated conflict - Russian envoy

RIA Novosti

16:47 30/09/2009 BRUSSELS, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - The EU-commissioned report on the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 has put the blame on Tbilisi for starting the conflict, Russia's ambassador to the European Union said on Wednesday.

"Who started it? The report gives an unequivocal answer," Vladimir Chizhov said, adding he would send the report, which was released on Wednesday, to Moscow for an official statement.

The report was commissioned by the Council of the European Union, and compiled by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, along with 30 European military, legal and history specialists. The experts were to investigate the causes of the conflict.

Georgian officials said the report blamed Russia for escalating the conflict.

The five-day war broke out on August 7, 2008, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in an attempt to regain control over the region. Russian troops repelled the assault briefly pushing further into Georgia.

Russia pulled back from Georgia, but built up its military presence in Ossetia and the other former Georgian republic of Abkhazia, where its peacekeepers have been stationed since post-Soviet conflicts in the 1990s. Russia later recognized both regions as independent states.

Tbilisi severed diplomatic ties with Moscow following its recognition of the breakaway regions, which it considers occupied territories. Only Nicaragua and Venezuela have followed Russia's suit in recognizing the republics.

Tagliavini presented the document to the Russian and Georgian envoys, the EU, OSCE and UN. Chizhov said the report would be posted on a special website later on Wednesday.

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