On Ossetia, Denials by Khalilzad of Foreign
Fighters, by Yerevan of Russian Planes in Armenian Bases
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
August 11 -- Propaganda or
underground truth, on the sidelines of conflict
in South Ossetia, Russian media
has been reporting that foreign fighters, including Americans, were
the dead in Tskhinvali. Russia Today quoted South Ossetia's
Kokoity that "Ukrainians and mercenaries from the Baltics as well as
nationals from other countries were involved in the fighting, as
have been found among their bodies.'" South Ossetia's envoy to Russia
quoted that "in yesterday's most recent tank attack, the advancing
were supposedly crewed by Ukrainians. Two unidentified bodies found
Americans... who were probably either mercenaries or instructors in the
Georgian armed forces."
backdrop, Inner City Press on Monday afternoon asked the U.S.
Ambassador to the UN
Zalmay Khalilzad, Russian media is reporting that foreign fighters
Americans were involved in Tskhinvali. "Some say this
is propaganda, some
say this is true. What do you say?" Video here,
from Minute 8:44.
answered that "we hear a lot of propaganda. We've heard the U.S. gave
green light to this operation... I have nothing specific with regard to
report, but I would not conclude that they are true. We did not have
knowledge or were not consulted by Georgia." He encouraged agnosticism
to what happened on August 6, that one "not necessarily buy the line
Georgia initiated a conflict."
Amb. Khalilzad [says] don't believe the hype
responding to an earlier
Inner City Press report, from Yerevan comes a quote by
to Armenia Revaz countering that the airplanes that bombed Georgian
flew off from the Russian military base in Armenia: "No Georgian
structures said this. As representative of official authorities of
don't say it either. We don't doubt that Armenia will remain neutral in
case and no airplanes will bomb the territory of Georgia from Armenia.
no doubt." But the allegation was made by a Georgian official.
Colonel Seyran Shahsuvaryan was also quoted that "there are no bomber
aircrafts at the Russian military base in Armenia," only light
interceptors. Again, we'll see.
site. And this (on
South Ossetia), and