August 20, 2004 |
Explosions and gunfire echoed in this regional capital Thursday as government troops battled South Ossetian separatists for key hills outside town. Interior Minister Irakli Okruashvili said government forces had captured hills overlooking a road that links ethnic Georgian villages with the rest of the country, but officials in breakaway South Ossetia disputed that. South Ossetia's military chief said three civilians were killed by Georgian shelling of Tskhinvali on Thursday.
September 13, 2004 |
Each day for 12 years, the rhythm of life in this village of scrap-metal lean-tos, plywood shacks and misery in North Ossetia has been the same. Those who have jobs in the nearest city hike up to the main road and flag down a passing car or, with luck, catch a bus. Later in the morning, the children set out for school, walking a mile and a half along roads that are often muddy or buried in snow. At 5 p.m. sharp, the water tap in the center of town opens up for precisely three hours.
August 27, 2005 |
The bodies of Beslan's children lay in freshly dug graves when the most troubling questions of the deadly hostage-taking at Middle School No. 1 started to emerge. On the roof of a five-story apartment building across from the school where 318 hostages died and about 700 others were wounded in September, residents found three large, empty tubes, a little more than 36 inches long, marked with red stripes and numeric codes.
September 24, 2002 |
One man reported missing after a devastating avalanche in southern Russia was found unharmed Monday, but more than 100 people remained lost and authorities feared that the number could rise. Two bodies were recovered Monday in the immediate vicinity of the avalanche, bringing the number of those found to eight, a duty officer at the headquarters for the rescue effort said. Emergency officials have said they feared that as many as 150 people were killed in Friday's avalanche.
September 15, 2004 |
Russian prosecutors charged a Chechen man with terrorism, murder, kidnapping and other counts in the deadly hostage-taking at a school in southern Russia, the Interfax news agency reported. Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov identified the man as Nurpashi Kulayev. The three-day siege in Beslan, in Russia's North Ossetia republic, ended in chaos that left about 330 people dead, more than half of them children.
June 6, 2008 |
The European Parliament said Russia's peacekeeping mission in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region is not neutral and the terms of its deployment must be changed. The European Union assembly demanded in a nonbinding resolution that member nations send their own border mission to Abkhazia. Georgian officials have asked for EU participation in the U.N.-monitored peacekeeping forces. Moscow has offered passports to Abkhaz residents and those of South Ossetia, another breakaway area in Georgia, and said it would establish ties with separatist institutions in the two regions.
September 6, 2008 |
Vice President Dick Cheney appealed to Ukraine's divided leaders to unite and forge closer links with the West, pledging Washington's support for the country to join the NATO military alliance. Cheney was visiting amid a political crisis that has split the ruling coalition and sparked debate about whether the former Soviet republic should draw closer to the West, to Russia, or be neutral. The visit will probably anger Russia, already irritated by Cheney's support for Georgia's bid for NATO membership.
September 4, 2006 |
Georgia's defense minister said a helicopter in which he was riding came under fire as it flew over the separatist province of South Ossetia, but it landed safely and nobody was hurt. Georgia's Interior Ministry also said that in a similar incident last week, a surface-to-air missile was fired at a helicopter escorting a U.S. Senate delegation led by John McCain (R-Ariz.). In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore said she had no information about the incident.
December 23, 2008 |
A team of international monitors is ending its 16-year mission in Georgia after Russia refused to allow an extension of the assignment in a dispute over two breakaway Georgian provinces. The mission by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe expires Dec. 31, and OSCE chair Finland called a meeting to seek a three-month extension. But talks collapsed when Russia, a member of the group, demanded that the body join Moscow in recognizing the statehood of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
November 20, 2008 |
Mediators succeeded Wednesday in getting direct talks going between Russia and Georgia, pressing the two neighbors to resolve security and refugee issues from their August war. Johan Verbeke, special U.N. envoy for Georgia, said the sides had agreed on methods to demarcate borders and had begun work on security issues and the return of refugees. "I'd call this a quantum leap," Verbeke said. "All of the delegations did speak, all of the delegations listened."