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A Day in South Ossetia

Posted by feww on August 21, 2008

‘I’ve never heard anything so monstrous as people shelling a hospital’

Tom Parfitt travelled to Tskhinvali, in a trip organized by the Kremlin, to witness first hand the destruction caused by the battle for South Ossetia.


Ossetians stay in a basement of a destroyed hospital in Tskhinvali. Photograph: Mikhail Metzel/AP. Image may be subject to copyright

At a crossroads in the north of the city there was evidence of a fierce fire fight. … The heavy turret of one tank had been tossed across the street, falling through a shop front. Nearby on the ground lay a human foot. …

At the crossroads, Izolda Deppiyeva, 50, looked out on the scene of ruined ground floor apartment in a block riddled by gunfire. … “There was a great wave of pressure which twisted me and flung me against the kitchen wall.”

A former theater stage actress, Deppiyeva said she had lived for four days in a cellar with her relatives without food and water. … “I could not leave,” she said. “This land is my body, my home. We are a proud beautiful people and we are not leaving. I survived, I am alive!” …

Tina Zakharova, one of the doctors, pointed out chunks of shrapnel which had hit the building. “This is the humanitarian aid that Georgia sent us,” she said, “and that,” she said, pointing at a field hospital nearby, “is the help we received from Russia. Which do you think we should chose?” She added: “I’ve never heard anything so monstrous as people shelling a hospital.”

Colonel Konashenko said: “The Georgians could not get tanks through these narrow streets. So first they turned it to ruins with a Grad attack and tried to punch through here to the center of the city. There was heavy fighting in the streets. I think more than 500 bodies were pulled out of this part of town.”

Asked if there had been atrocities against civilians the Colonel replied: “I personally saw one man beheaded lying in the street and others say they witnessed civilians who had been finished off with a shot to the back of the head.” Read the full story here.

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