posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 09:44 PM
reply to post by all2human
Yeah the S Ossetian fighters were really the wild card here. They are the ones who had some confrontations with Western journalists and looted empty
Georgian villages - and were referenced innitially as Russians by the Western media. Perhaps they even killed some Georgian civilians - but I
haven't heard any actual cases. I don't think there is any proof of Russian troops taking part in any civilian looting. The only equipment Russian
troops took with them is Georgian army equipment that was left behind.
The problem is that no one tried to stop the S Ossetians. Because of the chaos - the S Ossetian militia's command structure was disorganized and had
no control over the fighters. Russians turned a blind eye on this. Georgians were too busy evacuating. For a period of about a week the region of
Georgia bordering S Ossetia was practically lawless. Russian troops were even reported to have exchanged gunfire and possible killed some
unidentified looters, who might have been S Ossetians or Georgians, or God knows who.
The issue of identifying who is who is further exacerbated by the fact that neither Russia, nor S Ossetian militia, nor Georgia has one standard
military uniform or equipment. In Russia many soldiers are free to pick out their own uniform (there are many varying camo patterns for example).
Same goes for S Ossetians. Russian armor of the 58th army is also largely unmarked by any special insignia, and the troops are free to "decorate"
it to their own liking. And then add the ragtag Chechen-Federal battalions of Zapad and Vostok (also part of Russian army) to the mess.
Georgian troops are a little easier to identify - at least it was untill Russians and S Ossetians have taken Georgian uniforms from abandoned bases.
At that point I would be surprised if each sides' soldiers themselves could identify friend from foe.
As for the missiles and missile fragments - there is no way to tell them apart Russian or Georgian from pictures. Georgia retains some of this
ammunition from the Soviet Era. Staging these pictures would not be a difficult task.
I recall there was one case of a shot-down Su-25 in this war. The wreckage of the plane caught on fire and the new insignia paint burned off. There
were pictures showing charred Soviet markings on the plane (the original paint), and even military afficianados on a forum were not able to identify
to which side the plane belonged. There are still rumors that there were more Russian and Georgian planes shot down than confirmed by the two sides -
but identification proved impossible. Surely the military knows of the loses - but aren't disclosing them.
Also you may remember pictures of destroyed tanks on the streets of Tskhnvali. Various sources refer to them as either Georgian or Russian tanks. It
hasn't been cleared up.