Essential

Did Georgia Start Its War with Russia?

Was the Russian-Georgian war really the act of unilateral Russian aggression it was portrayed to be? According to a New York Times story, several new factors complicate Georgia's excuse that it was acting defensively against Russian and separatist aggression. Georgia claimed to be reacting to the shelling of several Georgian villages by Southern Ossetian separtists, but according to observers "no shelling of Georgian villages could be heard in the hours before the Georgian bombardment." Georgia also claimed that its response was a "precise operation," but "accounts suggest that Georgia's inexperienced military attacked … with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers, and unarmed monitors to harm." The Georgian government has denied the accusations.