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Prelude to war
12/04/2012, Georgia-Abkhazia border
The small GAZ truck moved through the thick snow, carrying rather important persons. Inside were the Georgian minister of defence; Nikolas Graz and General; Mikheil Rostov, all seated at the back. The small GAZ felt every bump on the road, so did the men inside. The modest vehicle was merely a pawn for the game of war. Mikehil massaged his temple, pressurised at what would follow.
“Sir, today we are going to regain our occupied lands of Ossetia and Abkhazia, by force if necessary,” Mikheil said. “But remember what happened in 2008? We were nearly invaded by the Russians,” Nikolas reiterated, cringing at the thought of being a frontline soldier in that time.
“Ya, but we are now part of the European Union, they will protect us. We have better weapons, better training, and support from the USA. They will defend us too.”
“But we might lose EU support by doing this act of war, and even sanctions”
“No, we will not my friend. You as a politician should know, we are the allies of the USA, and Russia is not. We will not be blamed, but the Russians...well...” Mikheil snickered.
“I hope so,” Nikolas said nervously, while wiping off the sweat from his face.
The small jeep arrived at the military outpost in the Georgian-Russian border, and the men disembarked, heading to the regiment of soldiers stationed there. The situation was tense, the men knew what was in jeopardy, what could happen. Yet, they were determined to do what was to them necessary.
“Men, today we will regain our lands. The Russians have it occupied for too long! Today, we shall make things right! Men! Today we shall purge the rebels, and reunite the Georgian motherland! For it is today, we shall have our revenge!” the proud Mikheil cried out, firing shots in the air with his AK-47 assault rifle, as his men cheered on. “Today, we shall start, Operation: Bear Tamer!” he cried out again.
“What’s’ that sound Yuri?”
“What sound Leonid?”
“The low humming sound! It sounds familiar...” the moustached Yuri said, while stroking his moustache. The sound was indeed familiar, like something he had heard before. Then, it suddenly became clear what it was. TANKS!
“LEONID, SOUND THE ALERT!” Yuri shouted. “The Georgians are coming!” he cried, rushing off to his old wooden shed. Hurriedly, he opened the closet, and took out the contents. “Sasha, Radeem! Equip yourselves!” he shouted, while putting on a flak vest, and grabbing hold of as much ammunition for his AK-47. “What is happening?” Radeem asked, putting on a beret, and grabbing an RPG-7. Yuri grinned, took out a cigarette, lit it and said, “The Georgians are finally here.”
“BRING THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN TO SAFETY!” Sasha cried out, a nervous tremble can be heard in his voice, apparently aware of what is to happen.
As the women and children fled, the humming stopped. Yuri inhaled, exhaled. Then, a faint wail could be heard in the background. “ARTILLERY! EVERYONE SEEK SHELTER!” Leonid cried out, rushing off to a nearby store. He made it just in time, as rocket after rocket detonated, releasing shrapnel in all directions. The buildings bore the brunt of the impact, showing the remnants of shrapnel dislodged into the concrete. Yet, for some it was too late. The muffled cries of those who suffered the entire impact, echoed through the town. Those who died suffered a horrible fate, the shrapnel in some cases, almost cutting people in half. The roads were stained with blood.
Kremlin, Moscow, Russia
“President Grudenko, my forces are heading towards Abkhazia as we speak, trying to assist out Abkhazian allies,” General Lavrov uttered, tailing the President a few steps back. “Have the Georgians gone mad? Are they purposely trying to anger the entire Russian Federation! Their entry into the EU has strained our ties with the western Europeans, but now this?” Grudenko chided. He sighed, took out a handkerchief and wiped his forehead.
“General, why didn’t you tell me this earlier? The fact that you just sent forces without my authorisation might imply that I am a weaker force. General, I have a right mind to arrest you for treason. But since what is done is done. Continue,” Grudenko sighed.
“I apologise sir, but it was a retaliation act against an attack against the Georgian attack on civilian targets in Abkhazia,” the general replied, his voice now in a more nervous tone, as he cleared his throat.
“Oh what have you done?” Grudenko sighed. Grudenko was right to be nervous, as Russian ties with Europe have dwindled since the admission of Georgia and the Czech Republic into the European Union. And this too increased their hostility with the United States. Although part of the reformist party, some might say that he has the charisma to be that of an ultranationalist too, which the west has feared. He knew every reason the west feared him, the leader of the country with the most nuclear missiles, largest tank force, second largest naval fleet and third largest air force.
As he headed towards his office, his secretary rushed towards him. “Mr. President, minister of defence Yuri Karpov would like to meet you,” she said, with sweat dripping off her forehead, which she promptly wiped off with her handkerchief.
“Where is he?”
“At your office”
“Ah, good. Where I was heading”
As he opened the door of his office, Yuri was in the room with Colonel Yeni Baksheer, head of the Caucasian forces. Yeni’s bearded face and slightly tanned skin made him a typical Caucasian man, but one who has fought both with and later against the Chechen Mujahedeen.
“Good evening gentlemen,” Grudenko smiled casually at them.
“Sorry sir, but we have no time for formalities. Colonel Yeni here did a small recon on the invasion of Abkhazia by Georgian forces. Our forces are battling them at the moment, and of course we are winning. However, Yeni here noticed some things which basically led General Lavrov to counterattack without your punishment,” Yuri blurted out, his fair skin and slight Asian looks giving hints about his Siberian ancestry.
“Sir, these are some pictures taken from my reconnaissance team and drones. You may need to see them,” he said, handing the pictures over to the president. “The Georgians used heavy artillery against civilian targets, a violation of the Geneva Convention, and prompted Lavrov to retaliate.
Grudenko stared at the pictures. Death, destruction and violence. The flames of destruction had taken over Abkhazia. “How can I achieve justice for these victims?” he sighed.
Starbucks Cafe, New York
Neil Johnson sat in the corner, drinking a latte, flipping through the New York Times. As a political analyst of the White House, it was his job keep himself updated with the latest news, and analyse them accordingly. For several days, the white house was in chaos about the repetition of the Georgian invasion of Abkhazia, and the consequent Russian use of force. He knew the Georgians were wrong to invade an autonomous republic of its own nation, and Russia too was wrong to defend it. At times like this he wished he was a lecturer instead of a political analyst. He knew very well the United State’s foreign policy, and hated most of it.
Finishing his latte, he wiped his mouth clean with his handkerchief, and headed to the United Nations building. He knew what would happen. As most things that would happen when talking to the Russians, Grudenko would defend his actions, and the EU, Georgia and US would condemn him as usual. He had to prepare well, for the battle of his lifetime, where words are the ammunition.
He made it into the room just in time, as President Grudenko was walking to the pedestal. Grudenko was sweating profusely, as he knew he would be under great political pressure from the world’s leaders, be they ally or enemy. A wrong word could be very misinterpreted, and may lead to political isolation.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen,” Grudenko said into the microphone. “I understand that you all may have questions about our defending of Abkhazia, and the defeating of Georgian forces where both sides suffered casualties, and the civilians suffered terribly,” as his face began reflecting that of a sorrowful young man, from which Grudenko had lived life as one. Neil had read about Grudenko’s past, father was sent to the gulag, the mother passed away of old age. Married a beautiful woman, who unfortunately succumbed to cancer. Neil sighed, seeing Grudenko answering question after question being asked. Then Grudenko’s calm nature changed when a question was posted by the US President, Jack Peterson.
“President, you are aware the actions of your military have violated the territorial sovereignty of the Georgian people”
Grudenko inhaled, exhaled; cleared his throat and replied, with a tone much more grim and making him sound like an ultranationalist.
“Mr. President, the Russian army intervened to combat the various human rights violations in Abkhazia done by Georgian forces. The Georgians used heavy artillery against civilian areas, from which when the Russian army were to arrive; the cities were a pile of rubble. Although we defeated the Georgians, we had no intention to continue all the way to Georgia, but instead just halt in Abkhazia, and ensure the safety of our peacekeepers there. We would not retaliate against any attack against us, but we practised a limit on the usage of artillery.”
“But you are occupying the region of Abkhazia, which is Georgian lands. There is no excuse for continued occupation.”
“With all due respect President, I noticed an ironic trend. When we protect citizens, and defend our national interests, we get condemned severely. Yet, when you invade a nation, you get very little condemnation. You invaded, and have occupied Iraq for 8 years, from which you claim to protect your nation from Saddam’s reign of terror. Although you may have had good intentions, you have entered a relatively prosperous nation and left to the Iraqis a nation that is near destruction.
Talking about the Iraqis, you invaded them without consent or approval from the United Nations Security Council, which ironically, the US was one of the founding members. Although the UN have done well, but the fact that you did not consolidate the UNSC actually shows hints of the disrespect of the other member states. The incredible irony is that, the US supports its allies, no matter if its allies were right or wrong. Despite the fact you try to uphold the values of justice and equality, where was it when you condemned Iran’s right for nuclear weapons when Israel itself has 100 nukes? The fact that you did not condemn the Israeli’s and taken back the nukes, there wouldn’t have been a war between them! The fact that there is severe political biasness undermines the credibility of the US government in being a fair force of justice! Even after the collapse of the USSR, American troops still practise their tactics against the OPFOR, which are basically American vehicles disguised as Soviet weaponry! You may blame us for still being suspicious of the west even after the collapse of the USSR, but it is there for a reason! Now, I am done, and what else can I do? Apologise? Apologise for defending an oppressed people?“ Grudenko chided, his face now red with anger, and dripping with sweat.
He inhaled and exhaled.
“The United States is a great nation, one that has attracted millions around the world to live the American dream. However, unfortunately, as the pinnacle of justice and order of this world, your foreign policies are dubious and ironic of nature, which makes people love the United States as well as hate it,” he continued, blood slowly draining away from his face, making him appear calmer than he actually was.
The entire UN room was in shock and awe. Nikolas Graz thought to himself, thinking that his plan to eliminate the Russian threat may be successful. Grudenko stared at Nikolas, who was grinning to himself, and gave him a cold stare. He then slowly, left the room. The moment he left, the room fell silent.
Neil trailed his eyes on the Russian president as he left his room, and followed the Russian president a few metres behind.
“Whoever you are, please show yourself,” Grudenko said, his gruff voice seemingly echoing the narrow halls of the UN building.
“Umm, sorry President Grudenko,” Neil replied, heading towards the leader of the Kremlin, and extended his hand. Grudenko looked at Neil, seemingly scanning and analysing him.
“My name is Neil Johnson, a political scientist at the white house,” he said, hand still extended.
“Ah, an American. I assume you say the fiasco at the room?” Grudenko replied, shaking the outstretched hand of Neil. “I expect your media to glamorise what I said, and I’ll probably get imitated by some talk show host as usual; I assume?” he smiled sarcastically.
Neil cleared his throat, and said, “Yes, unfortunately. I apologise though, as well, most people are too arrogant to see the truth, and sometimes, you’re forced to be blind to serve your country.”
“I understand. Oh well, nice to meet someone from the West who finally can talk sense.”<!--QuoteEnd-->
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