Battle of the Kodori Valley

Battle of the Kodori Valley

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=2008 Kodori crisis
partof=the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and the 2008 South Ossetia War

caption=Map of Abkhazia showing the location of the Kodori Valley
date= August 9, 2008 - August 12, 2008
place=Kodori Valley, Abkhazia (Georgia)
result= Abkhazian-Russian victory
combatant1= flagicon|Abkhazia Abkhazian military
flagicon|Russia Russian military
combatant2= flagicon|Georgia Georgian military
strength1= flagicon|Abkhazia 1,000 soldiers
Unknown number of reservists
strength2= flagicon|Georgia 2,500 regulars
Unknown paramilitary troops [ [ Russian Forces capture Military Base in Georgia] ]
casualties1= flagicon|Abkhazia 1 soldier
casualties2= flagicon|Georgia 2 regulars [ [ Abchasen räumen Minen und suchen versprengte georgische Truppen im Kodori-Tal] ]
The Battle of Kodori Valley was a military operation in the Upper Kodori Valley during the 2008 South Ossetia war, the only part of Abkhazia, which remained under Georgian control after the 1992-1993 War in Abkhazia. Hostilities started during the 2008 South Ossetia War, the Abkhazian military launched an operation to remove the remaining Georgian troops from the disputed gorge. [ [ Russian troops raid Georgian town, scores dead] ] The Georgian side denied an all-out Abkhazian attack and said they were ready to stop any attacks. On August 9 2008, the Abkhazian Air Force began a sortie against Georgian positions, while Abkhazian ground forces moved to invest the valley. [ [ Abkhazia launches operation to force Georgian troops out] ] [ [ Abkhazian Forces Push out Georgian Troops] , 9 August 2008]

Abkhazian and Russian Army mobilization

On 10 August 2008, Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia mobilized the army and called up reservists to drive Georgian government forces out of the small part of the province remaining under Georgian control. Abkhazia's President, Sergei Bagapsh, said he issued a decree putting the province's troops on high alert and mobilizing some reservists, after Georgia launched a military campaign to regain control over South Ossetia.

In addition, Russian troops were seen moving through Abkhazia toward the border with Georgia, which lies on the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia. Russia's NTV television said more Russian troops arrived in Abkhazia in addition to the peacekeepers, who had been deployed there for more than a decade and were heading towards the border with Georgia. It showed a long convoy of armored vehicles, rolling through the Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi. [ [ Abkhazia sends army to drive out Georgian troops] , 11 August 2008, Monday]

Russia also sent a naval squadron to blockade Georgia's Black Sea coast. According to the Russian navy, a group of ships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet, including the flagship Moskva missile cruiser, arrived on Sunday in the eastern part of the sea, near the Georgian border. The Moskva, accompanied by a patrol vessel and supply ships, travelled from the Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea. A spokesman of the President of Abkhazia earlier said: "The local administration and peacekeepers had asked Russia to reinforce its naval presence near the Abkhazian coast, after Georgian warships attempted to approach the coastline." [ [ Russian Navy ships approach Georgia's sea border] , 10 August 2008, Sunday] According to the Georgian government, 6,000 Russian troops rolled into South Ossetia from the neighboring Russian province of North Ossetia and 4,000 more landed in Abkhazia. [ [ Russian news agencies report sunken Georgian ship] , 10 August 2008, Sunday] According to the commander of Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia, Alexander Novitsky, Russia has boosted its forces in Abkhazia and now deploys more than 9,000 paratroopers and 350 armoured vehicles. [ [ Russia boosts forces in Abkhazia to 9,000] , 11 August 2008, Monday] A reporter of the Associated Press saw 135 Russian military vehicles, including tanks, driving towards Kodori Gorge, held by Georgian forces. They included tanks, armored personnel carriers and three pieces of artillery. [ [ Dozens of Russian vehicles head toward key gorge] , 12 August 2008, Tuesday]

Ultimatum to Georgia

The President of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, gave Georgia a deadline for removing its troops from the Upper Kodori Gorge, a part of the region controlled by Georgia. [ [ Обращение Президента Республики Абхазии к согражданам] , 10 August 2008, Sunday] On 11 August 2008, Russian troops issued an ultimatum to Georgian forces, near the breakaway region of Abkhazia, to disarm or face attack, but Georgia swiftly rejected the demand. Russia stated the ultimatum, expired at 06:00 GMT, adding, that Russian forces were ready for an operation to disarm Georgian troops in the area. [ [ Russia demands Georgian troops near Abkhazia disarm] , 11 August 2008, Monday]


Abkhaz warplanes and artillery continued to pound Georgian positions for a second day in a row. [ [ Georgia Pulls Out of Ossetia as Second Front Opens] , 10 August 2008, Monday] The President of Abkhazia said, that "around 1,000 special Abkhaz troops" were involved in operations against Georgian forces. "They were attacking Georgian positions using warplanes, multiple rocket launchers and artillery. The operation will enter the next phase as planned and you will learn about that", he said, adding "that he would create a humanitarian corridor", allowing residents in the district to flee. [ [ Abkhazia: Moscow sends troops into second enclave] , 11 August 2008, Monday]

A report from Interfax cited the Abkhaz defense headquarters as saying Abkhaz troops had launched an operation on August 12 2008, to push Georgian forces out of the northern part of the Kodori Gorge. [cite news|url=|title= Report: Abkhaz troops pushing Georgians from gorge|publisher=International Herald Tribune|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12] A Georgian government report said, Abkhaz infantry and armor had begun attacking Georgian defense. [cite news|url=,russia-ups-pressure-on-georgia-diplomats-push-for-ceasefire.html|title=Russia ups pressure on Georgia, diplomats push for ceasefire|publisher=The Earth Times|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12] Abkhazia's President said "Russian troops were not involved in the operation." [cite news|url=|title=French pres set to arrive in Russia as conflict widens in Georgia|publisher=Hurriyet|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12]

Sergei Bagapsh, the President of Abkhazia, said Abkhaz forces had taken the villages of Azhara and Chkhalta and were advancing to the Georgian border. He said, Abkhazia controls most of the Upper Kodori Gorge. [cite news|url=|title=Abkhazia says it controls most of Kodori Valley|publisher=Monsters and Critics|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12] A group of 250 Abkhaz soliders was reported to have clashed with Georgian forces in the gorge at the edge of Abkhazia. [cite news|url=|title= Russians Bomb Georgian City|publisher=Sky News|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12] Abkhazia's chief of the General Staff of the armed forces, Anatoly Zaitsev stated, that Abkhazia's armed forces have surrounded the Georgian troops in the Kodori Gorge. Zaitsev said, 250 Abkhazian servicemen had landed near the settlement of Chkhalta, meeting resistance from Georgian units, who fired on them with small arms. The second Abkhazian unit is due to back up the first group of servicemen. [cite news|url=|title=Abkhazian forces surround Georgian troops in the Kodori Gorge|publisher=Itar-Tass|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12] The foreign Minister of Abkhazia, Sergei Shamba, said, that Abkhazian Air Force and artillery have been delivering missile and bomb strikes on military objects in the upper part of the Kodori Gorge. Units of the regular troops and reservists of the armed forces of Abkhazia are taking part in the operation. [cite news|url=|title=Abkhazian units begin operation in the Kodori Gorge|publisher=Itar-Tass|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12]

Georgia's Deputy Interior Minister Eka Zhguladze said "Georgian troops had withdrawn from the Kodori Gorge as a gesture of goodwill." [cite news|url=|title=Georgia Pulls Out of Abkhazia as France Seeks Russia Cease-Fire|publisher=Bloomberg|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12] Fleeing Georgians said the entire population of the gorge, some 2,000 people, had abandoned their homes. Some did so quickly, that they didn't even grab food or water. "It feels like an annexed country", said Lasha Margiani, head of the administration of Upper Abkhazia. [cite news|url=|title=Georgia says bombing continues, after Russian order |publisher=Yahoo! News|date=2008-08-12|accessdate=2008-08-12]

Operations outside Kodori Gorge

Russian troops entered Georgia from Abkhazia. Russian forces launched a raid on the town of Senaki to stop Georgia from attacking Russian forces in South Ossetia. [ [ Russians advance in west Georgia] , 11 August 2008, Monday] 30 armored personnel carriers and more then 20 trucks with Russian soldiers entered the town and took control of the military base, that was abandoned by Georgian forces. [ [ Russian Troops Enter Georgia, Seize Military Base] , 11 August 2008, Monday]

The Assistant Commander of Russian forces Alexander Novitsky claimed, that during a reconnaissance mission the Russian Air Force shot down two Georgian helicopters at the Senaki airbase. The helicopters were purportedly identified as a MI-8 and a MI-24, belonging to the Georgian Air Force. [cite news
title=Российские военные уничтожили два грузинских вертолета - миротворцы
publisher=RIA Novosti

According to the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Abkhaz moved the border of their state in direction to the Inguri river. The troops occupied two villages near Zugdidi, 13 villages in the region of Tsalenjikha and the surrounding area of the water power station near the Inguri river. The Ministry said, that it was hard to estimate, how far the military actions had gone. [ [ Georgia Says Abkhazia Separatists Seize Villages] , 16 August 2008, Sunday]

ee Also

*Georgian–Abkhazian conflict
*Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia
*Spetsnaz, OSNAZ


External links

* [ Abkhaz separatists strike disputed Georgia gorge]
* [ President: Georgia defeats Abkhazia's attacks on Kodori gorge]

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