Saturday, August 23, 2008

Moscow causes ecological disaster in Georgia

Paul Goble writes about the ecological catastrophe that Russian forces are organizing in Georgia in order to inflict a vindictive "punishment" on the country. Excerpt:

Writing on Monday, Tsikarishvili said that “the Russians have organized an ecological catastrophe, burning in the course of a few days the centuries-old forest in the unique Borzhomi nature reserve.” Because that park has no military purpose and because it is “located very far from the conflict zone,” the Russians appear to have done this just to be destructive. After the Russians set the fire, which as of that time had burned through 250 hectares, Georgians came to the assistance of the fire brigades “but considering the extent of the fire, the difficulty of getting into that isolated area, the wind and other problems,” they have not yet been able to put the fire out, Tsikarishvili said. Worse, he continued, “Russia prohibited Ukraine from taking part in the suppression of the fire,” something that guaranteed the fire would continue to spread, even though the Russian military did allow Turkish planes and helicopters to come in. But their effectiveness was limited because as a result of Russian actions, the planes had to fly back to Turkey to get water. And when the Georgians and the Turks appeared to be making progress in at least containing the fire, persons unknown but presumably either Russians, South Ossetians or some of the North Caucasus “volunteers” who have been guilty of so much marauding in Georgia threw incendiary devices to keep the fire going and to ensure that it would spread.
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