EU report blames both Russia and Georgia for war
After a lengthy inquiry, and despite close secrecy surrounding its final report, European Union investigators are expected to conclude that Georgia ignited last year’s war with Russia by attacking separatists in South Ossetia, rejecting the Georgian government’s explanation the attack was defensive. But the report is believed to balance its findings by saying that if Georgia fired the first shot, Russia effectively goaded it into doing so. For years preceding the conflict, Russia encouraged separatist movements in breakaway Georgian territories Abkhazia and South Ossetia, training military forces and distributing Russian passports there. The EU inquiry is the most authoritative probe into the causes of the August 2008 war, which devastated Georgia and brought relations between Russia and the West to a post-cold-war low. The report will be presented to the EU’s Council of Ministers tomorrow and then released publicly.