Russia attacks the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and destroys port of Poti - is set on ethnically cleansing South Ossetia - Uncle Sam silently watches
Georgian Minister of Economic Development , Yekaterina Sharashidze is reported saying that Russian aircraft were targeting strategic assets, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the South Caucasus gas pipeline.
She said these attacks failed and the pipelines are undamaged for the present. “This means Russian Federation attacks strategic objects on an international scale, not only Georgian infrastructure".
If this is true it represent a major step change in the conflict which cannot be ignored amongst NATO allies - and should rapidly impact on the price of oil and gas.
This report is also carried on Reuters but they could not obtain "independent verification". The Turkish Hurryet also carries it.
Reuters Alertnet also reports that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in the Russian city of Vladikavkaz (pop. 315,000 in 2002 = 2.5% Georgian) the capital of North Ossetia on Saturday to, " discuss the influx of refugees from the conflict in the adjacent Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia" , news agencies said.
Russian aircraft bombing Tbilisi took off from Armenia-report
Azerbajani news agency ANSI report that Russian military aircrafts bombed Vaziani base near Tbilisi at 15.10 local time on Friday . Two bombs were reportedly dropped on the military base. No casualties are reported in the base.
Gruziya Online website reports that the aircraft that bombed Vaziani base had taken off from the territory of Armenia. The agency mentions that there is an air regiment in Russian army’s 102nd base in Gumru, Armenia. According to the agreement signed between Georgia and Armenia, Armenia can not allow any other state to attack Georgia from its territory.
Therefore officially Yerevan has "violated international laws as well as agreement with Georgia".
Georgian Black Sea port of Poti destroyed
The Georgian Foreign Ministry reported that Russian aircrafts have completely destroyed the harbor of Poti on the Black Sea coast (see map) , in the immediate vicinity of Supsa, a vital oil terminal. It is the HQ of the Georgian Navy.
Supsa is vital for Europe, especially since the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline (the only alternative route to the Russian oil and gas pipelines) was bombed / accidentally bust (?) on the night of August 5th in Turkey by the Kurdish militia PKK (?). Since then, oil transported from Baku has been rerouted from Tbilisi to Supsa and then onwards through the Bosphorous.
UPDATE : Dozens of people have been killed as a result of overnight air strike by the Russian warplanes on port of Poti and a military base in Senaki, the Georgian media sources reported.The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Georgian Service reported that in Poti military boats of the Georgian armed forces were bombed, which led to death of at least two dozens of people.
It also reported that infrastructure damage was also serious as a result of the air strikes.Imedi radio station reported that at least 12 servicemen were killed as a result of air strike on the military base in Senaki.
Four men from the Senaki base are in severe conditions and were taken to the Zugdidi hospital.
Nobody died as a result of bombing of Khoni and Kopitnari. (Trend News Azerbaijan)
One of the reasons for the BTC pipeline was to cut traffic in the Bosphorous which is getting congested.
CNN have just reported "Russian bombers were targeting Georgia's economic infrastructure, Georgian National Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia said, including the country's largest Black Sea port, Poti, and the main road connecting the southern part of Georgia with the east and the airport."
Alexander Lomaia held secret talks in Sweden in June with Abkhazia - Lomaia said four Georgian officials took part on June 15th-17th. 2008 , including himself and State Minister for Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili, while the Abkhaz side was represented by Abkhazia's de facto foreign minister, Sergei Shamba and two other officials.
UPDATE : Martial law planned in Georgia - Alexander Lomaia Eurasia Net report See Associated Press report 1900 BST
Russian soldiers killed
ANSI also report that Georgia’s president and Uncle Sam's glove puppet , Mikhail Saakashvili claimed to a meeting with members of Parliament that Georgian Armed Forces have killed 60 special squad soldiers of Main Intelligence Administration (GRU) of Russia. The action took place in the Tiakani heights around the town of Tskhinvali which is the capital of South Ossetia. (pop. approx 70,000)
Some of these reports need confirming ;
1. Bottom line is that the BTC pipeline being discharged at either Turkish port of Ceyhan or Georgian Black Sea port of Poti will not be delivering oil for some time.
It seems curious that this suggests co-ordinated action between PKK and Russia and further suggests that the explosion / damage in the week may have had different authors.
The ramifications of an attack across international borders on energy sources of the Western allies by Russia are impossible, but awful to contemplate.
2. The Georgian Government ( watched passively by Uncle Sam) is evidently imposing by concerted and major military action a dramatic and violent policy of ethnic cleansing of the Ossetians from South Ossetia.
This is of course what happened when Bosnia evicted 200,000 Serbians from the Krajina enclave for which General Ante Gotovina is up before the beaks in the Hague currently. The American civilian / military forces, UAV and satellite surveillance and intelligence supplied by the US authorities, military or civil have not been indicted ...yet.
This action evidently initiated by Georgia immediately follows the recent NATO - US Army Exercise Immediate Response 2008 exercises completed July 31st to train Georgian forces
3. Any military response involves attacking main Russian territory. NATO have been challenged, it's current and potential members (as well as Mr Putin who is in the thick of it in Vladikavkaz protected no doubt by the huge and symbolic Mother Russia - see snap Lord Patel took on his hols).
Who will blink first ? The Boy David and Gordy are going to have their holidays interrupted.
Keep your eyes on the UK Embassy website in Georgia for when they start shipping families out.
4. Al Quaeda has not (yet!) been claimed to be responsible.
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