Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 16:29 UK

Voices on Georgia-Russia conflict

Readers from Georgia, Russia and South Ossetia react to the conflict over South Ossetia that has unfolded since 7 August.

MIRA TSKHOVREBOVA, 40, ENGLISH PROFESSOR, TSKINVALI, S OSSETIA

My three sons are currently defending the town - every moment they are risking their lives, so you can imagine how I feel as a mother.

We have hope now that the Russians will protect us
There has been day after day of bombings and rocket attacks. Many buildings have been destroyed. Trees have even been pulled out of the earth because of then force of the explosions.

The wife of my colleague fleeing for North Ossetia was shot and killed.

So what will happen if we continue to be occupied?

The international community, the European community know practically nothing about us.

The mass media never make any distinction between us and Georgians. But we are a very different people.

Yet Europeans support the Georgians in this outrageous action.

For the last 20 years South Ossetia has fallen between the interests of larger powers, stronger states. We now have hope that Russians will protect us, and not betray us as they have in the past.

MAYA MAMAJANASHVILI, 25, TRANSLATOR, TBILISI

Reader Maya Mamajanashvili
Maya says Georgia needs help from the international community
The current situation is some kind a nightmare - we can hardly believe this is happening to us.

The Georgian people are afraid and scared. We see how Russian jets are bombing our cities and we see Georgian soldiers being killed.

I live in Tbilisi and hear the bombs every night and early morning.

Who can I blame for this?

I don't know, both sides I think. They could avoid death and disaster if they could manage to settle the problem through negotiations.

They should sit around the table and could discuss the situation. They have to take one step back from the current situation to avoid war.

It is clear that it is the Ossetians and we Georgians who are the ones who have suffered - not Russia. Moscow doesn't care if cities are left in ruins, they don't care how many soldiers are dead. We hope to have peace soon to have an opportunity to sleep without fear.

We want to address the EU and Nato, please do everything to stop this crazy aggression.

DMITRY PETROV, 51, ARCHITECTUAL ADMINISTRATOR, MOSCOW

The Georgian military has used heavy weapons - namely Grad mortar rockets - not against military targets but to destroy the city of Tskhinval and some Ossetian villages where there were many civilians.

I strongly hope and believe that Russia will use heavy force only against militarily valid targets
In recent times Western powers began to use force without the sanction of the UN, so Russia cannot do anything else but to follow this bad example.

That is why I support what the Russian government is doing at the moment.

I strongly hope and believe that Russia will use heavy force only against militarily valid targets and will avoid the civilian deaths at all costs.

It is very painful to see our Georgian brothers and sisters suffer from Russian military action. But there is no other choice.

My wife is Ossetian and comes from Georgia. She also has relatives in South Ossetia. When Georgia attacked Tskhinvali her cousin was amongst the many who lost their homes and were forced to hide in the basement of the ruined building as troops entered the town.

They were trapped there until the Russian forces entered the town. Some people who stayed in the same basement were wounded and have died before the medical assistance came.

I understand that Georgia has historical reasons to blame Russia for their problems. But the Ossetian minority has suffered more in this case and have the right to ask Russia to protect them. We are guilty of having not guaranteed the peace before.

MIKHEIL SUKHITASHVILI, 20, STUDENT, TBILISI

Mikheil Sukhitashvili
Mikheil says the real war is between Georgia and Russia
I hear the Russian jets flying over and I worry about my family.

We are just a small country, and Russia is a great super power. Why are they bombing so far outside South Ossetia?

As a young person I am also an army reservist. I was in Gori for a couple of days. There was a great deal of destruction in the town. One of my main roles was try and calm down those who were panicking in the face of the destruction.

I think the Russian government and the Ossetian separatists are to blame for the current action.

Our government did everything not to respond to shooting from separatists.

Equally, we don't have anything against the ordinary Ossetians. There are many Ossestians in the capital, for example, and they live peacefully with Georgians.

The current war is not a battle between Georgia and Ossetia - it is a battle between Georgia and Russia. We cannot face down a super power, so we need international help.



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