Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Peace Talks - But No Sign of Ceasefire

Bombing raids resume as disturbing account of Gori attack emerges.
By IWPR Reporters
On August 12, for the first time in five days, the presenter on the morning news programme greeted viewers with the phrase, “Good Morning!”



It was a better day for Georgia as peace talks seemed to be bearing fruit and tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in central Tbilisi to protest against what they see as Russian aggression.



The night passed relatively peacefully – but despite promises of a ceasefire, bombing raids resumed around the town of Gori.

At 1pm, Russian Su-25 jets reportedly dropped five bombs on several districts of Kaspi. An hour later, two villages in the Kareli region, Kiolevi and Ruisi, were said to have been bombed. Two civilians died and one was wounded, reports say.



Elsewhere, the village of Agara was also attacked, but there were no casualties, say locals. And in a raid on the television station in Gori, a Dutch cameraman Stan Storimans was killed and correspondent Jeroen Akkermans wounded, according to reports.



Gori has suffered the most of all Georgian towns, with apartment blocks being set ablaze by Russian bombs.



There is no official death count but dozens of civilians have died, say Georgian media.



Radio journalist Roman Kevkhishvili recounted the following about the August 9 Russian attacks on the town.



“A group of journalists were in a shop buying cigarettes when the first bombing raid started. There were a lot of people, everyone was trying to buy up stores. There was a terrible noise and people began to get hysterical. Women screamed and everyone ran. We ran to the place where the bombs had fallen, it was no longer the same town as it had been a few minutes before when we entered the shop, " he said.



“There was panic, people were screaming, some women fainted. Then another bomb was dropped. We took shelter in the doorway of an apartment block. There were horrific scenes around us.



“Four five-storey apartment blocks were in flames. We tried to get near to them to film what was happening. Corpses were lying in the ruined houses. The relatives of the dead were sobbing. A human hand lay in the dust on the road. People in the houses that had been attacked stood on their balconies, shouted and begged for help.



“I also saw one woman jumping from the second floor to her death. I saw the bodies of two girls no more than ten years old. The bodies of several elderly women were lying on the ground. People who managed to flee the burning houses, implored us to help them, saying there were still dead and wounded inside.



“One woman sat down outside her house and looked at it with mad, glazed eyes. She was in shock. Soldiers led her away.

“’Doctor, help me, I’m dying,’ we heard.



“Then I saw one whole wing of a house with people standing on a balcony come crashing down.



“We ran to the medical centre. The bombing carried on and it was dangerous to stay. Soon soldiers came and began to evacuate us from the city.



“As we were leaving Gori, we saw a lot of destroyed houses on the road. People were fleeing the town. There were terrible traffic jams on the roads and lots of ambulances and fire engines.”