To OSSE-rapporter sår tvil om georgiske landsbyer ble angrepet om kvelden 7. august, slik at Georgias angrep på Sør-Ossetia kan oppfattes som selvforsvar. Det skjedde lite etter at Georgia proklamerte våpenhvile kl1800, og frem til Georgia gikk til angrep i 23-tiden, hevder OSSE.
OSSE-observatørene sier også at det georgiske angrepet på provinshovedstaden Tskhinvali var ikke-diskriminerende, man skjøt rett mot sivile boligområder.
Moskva er naturlig nok begeistret for OSSEs fremstilling. President Mikhail Saakasjvili har brukt paralleller til okkupasjonen av Tsjekkoslovakia. Hvis hans styrker angrep uten foranledning er en slik fremstilling vanskelig å forsvare, selv om russernes oppførsel i ettertid var brutal.
The observations by the monitors, including a Finnish major, a Belarussian airborne captain and a Polish civilian, have been the subject of two confidential briefings to diplomats in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, one in August and the other in October. Summaries were shared with The New York Times by people in attendance at both.
Details were then confirmed by three Western diplomats and a Russian, and were not disputed by the O.S.C.E.’s mission in Tbilisi, which was provided with a written summary of the observations.
According to the monitors, an O.S.C.E. patrol at 3 p.m. on Aug. 7 saw large numbers of Georgian artillery and grad rocket launchers massing on roads north of Gori, just south of the enclave.
At 6:10 p.m., the monitors were told by Russian peacekeepers of suspected Georgian artillery fire on Khetagurovo, an Ossetian village; this report was not independently confirmed, and Georgia declared a unilateral cease-fire shortly thereafter, about 7 p.m.
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During a news broadcast that began at 11 p.m., Georgia announced that Georgian villages were being shelled, and declared an operation «to restore constitutional order» in South Ossetia. The bombardment of Tskhinvali started soon after the broadcast.
According to the monitors, however, no shelling of Georgian villages could be heard in the hours before the Georgian bombardment. At least two of the four villages that Georgia has since said were under fire were near the observers’ office in Tskhinvali, and the monitors there likely would have heard artillery fire nearby.
Moreover, the observers made a record of the rounds exploding after Georgia’s bombardment began at 11:35 p.m. At 11:45 p.m., rounds were exploding at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between impacts, they noted.
At 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 8, Gen. Maj. Marat M. Kulakhmetov, commander of Russian peacekeepers in the enclave, reported to the monitors that his unit had casualties, indicating that Russian soldiers had come under fire.
Etterretningssignaler har dokumentert at det rullet russiske kjøretøyer gjennom Rokhi-tunnellen den 7. august, men C.J. Chivers skriver at det ikke er dokumentert hva slags styrke dette var.