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Georgia marks first anniversary of its conflict with Russia
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15:43, August 08, 2009

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A series of activities were held in Georgia on Friday to commemorate the first anniversary of its brief war with Russia last August.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, accompanied by the speaker of the parliament and the defense minister, went to a cemetery in the capital of Tbilisi on Friday morning to express condolences to Georgian soldiers died in last August's conflict.

Georgians stood silent for one minute on Friday afternoon to mourn victims of the conflict. Saakashvili and other government officials observed the silent tribute in front of the presidential office. Georgia's national flag flew at the half-mast among major government departments.

Early on Friday, "the fire of unity" was lit in Tbilisi and some other Georgian cities. The move, which was initiated by a youth organization, was meant to convey to the world Georgia's determination to restore its territorial integrity by peaceful means.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Tbilisi's rule during a war in the 1990s that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war last summer, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia to retake the renegade region that borders Russia. In response, Moscow sent in troops to drive Georgian forces out of the region.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states two weeks after the conflict ended.

According to latest data from the Georgian government, a total of 161 Georgian soldiers were killed in the war. Russian media reports said 64 Russian soldiers died in the clash.

Source: Xinhua

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