The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili met the representatives of the leadership of the Ministry of Defense Joint Staff

Good evening!

We have just discussed combat activities against Russian aggressors very openly, now we have to make certain conclusions and analyze everything what happened in details.

Our country went through an aggression of unimaginable scale. Several days ago, I opened Sayatnova museum together with the President of Armenia and I said: - there has not any aggression been conducted compared with this against Georgia since Aga Makhmad Khan's intrusion. About 80 000 Russian soldiers participated in this operation, more than 3 000 armored vehicles were mobilized on the territory of Georgia, and several more thousand were stationed around Georgian borders. More than 200 combat flights were conducted in the Georgian air space and all the other Russian pilots were mobilized as well. We did not want this war. You all know that we have discussed many combat plans here in this room, but you know as well that we have never discussed an action plan like this (more than that - Tskhinvali and South Ossetian territory). But the enemy supposed that - after the embargo did not work, the provocations did not work, the internal destabilization did not work - it would be impossible to achieve its two major goals - to remove the present authorities of Georgia and to control the oil pipelines. But everybody should remember that they failed to fulfill these two tasks. They failed to overthrow the Georgian government and they failed to take control of the oil pipelines. Therefore, everybody should understand that the danger still persists and at any moment the aggressor may launch new attacks, new aggression. A very important part of the Georgian territory is still occupied. We are conducting European monitoring, this will prevent further enlargement of the aggression.

At the same time we have to analyze everything what happened. It is necessary to analyze the unique experience gained during the hostilities. We fought with the biggest and well-organized armed forces which belongs to the biggest country around the world. You brought the biggest damage to the enemy, their equipment was destroyed, 2000 servicemen fell dead in Russian armed forces, we have downed 17 aircrafts. We have received this information from different sources. You know well what kind of discussions took place in the legislative bodies, how strict their evaluation was towards their armed forces, how they were trying to justify such casualties and loss. They say that the Georgian Army was exceptionally equipped. "It is impossible that Georgians had such professionals. They were acting on such high level that this could only be foreigners, their air defense system worked so well and precisely", Russian newspapers say. Russian TV channels showed several tanks driven from Georgia to Moscow, these tanks were placed in the center of Moscow. We couldn't evacuate these tanks and the artillery system from Gori on time. They were so surprised with our equipment, but nothing was irregular with this equipment. Russians need all of this to justify their casualties and destroyed equipment. To justify the fact why the 58 army, which first entered the Georgian territory was destroyed. So to say briefly - they are requiring to confirm the fact why they weren't able to occupy the capital of Georgia. They were given the same question in DUMA as well: why haven't you occupied the capital of Georgia? Their militaries were going to occupy Tbilisi. In the last several minutes by the result of your resistance the world awakened, Georgian people announced the total mobilization, many people got irritated because of this manifestation, but it played a huge role, Russian leadership stepped backwards only after this manifestation. I have true information that Russian leadership held heavy disputes whether it was possible to occupy the capital in such conditions or not. This war showed us strong and weak spheres of our country and our Army. For example we found out that we are on very high level of training of our artillery, of equipping the artillery personnel, we had high moral and spirits as well. The Artillery worked very well and we had noticeable advantage against our enemies. We were behind our enemy concerning the aviation - we did not have destroyers, we had no modern bombers, but despite this all our aviation performed several very exact attacks. Our pilots showed tremendous braveness.

This war showed us our weaknesses as well. It showed us components, which have to be refined and improved. This war showed us that we have deficiencies in the command system, in the communications system and in officers' training. In inexperienced Army there always are failures. We are making failures as well, but when you have combat experience, now it will be serious crime not to correct our mistakes. This war showed us that serious aspects are improved as well. There are people who deserve encouragement, we have people who we need to send to the best military schools around the world and those who we need to change. We have made some organizational resolutions and we had modified our Command. Based on the experience of these days we are going to promote those militaries, who were the best by their professionalism, by their level of organization, braveness and knowledge of the military job.

Davy Chankotadze, Commander of Artillery was appointed as the Deputy Chief of Joint Staff. Artillery worked exceptionally well.

David Nairashvili, Commander of Air Forces was appointed as second Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff. Your actions were of the high level.

Aviation worked well.

Maisuradze is appointed as Commander of Artillery, Zurab Pochkhua is appointed as Commander of Aviation.

I want to disappoint the Russian experts - Georgians downed those planes! However the Russians try not to believe it - this is a reality!

Mamuka Liparteliani is appointed as the Chief of Communications, Lela Chikovali is appointed as the Chief of Planning.

I believe that many officers showed incredible heroism. 179 our combatants fell dead, 41 combatants are considered lost. Their heroism will become known later.

I know many people who refused to leave Tskhinvali and fought till the last moment against the aggressor and enemy. Many fell dead, many are considered lost, we certainly continue the searching operation. At the same time I want to admit that I am not satisfied by the reserve system. The failures happened in this system not because of the reservists, but because of their commandment. We have devoted young people and we have to rearrange this system and recruiting system as well. David Aptsiauri was dismissed from his job.

Commander of III Brigade Givi Kapanadze was changed by Battalion Commander Kakha Kopaidze, V Brigade Commander was promoted and appointed as Commander of Land Forces, he changed Mamian Balakhadze, Besik Gikodze was appointed as the Commander of V Brigade.

We have very young Army. We have started development of our Army 4 years ago. We have started putting serious resources about three years ago. We still have to a lot, and we all must do it together. There is no Army which can be developed in three years. Objective observers around the world note that our Army showed more than regular readiness, more devotion and much more professionalism, but we still have to do more and more. We reached our main goals together with you - we rescued our statehood together with you, we have rescued Georgian Armed Forces. Our Armed Forces was able to maintain most of our ammunition and equipment. We have maintained our structure, but we had lost our warriors, we had maintained all our Personnel, the most precious treasure what we have in our possessions - our warriors, our officers and soldiers. Georgia's enemy already knows that they will find strong resistance in Georgia if they try to attack Georgia's independency once again. I want to underline the fact, that there are people of different ethnicities in our Armed Forces - Ossetians, Abkhazs, Armenians, Azeries, Russians and it is right. Our identity is not ethnic identity. Our identity is our common idea - to have multiethnic, united statehood. We have beautiful wall and border to Russia - these are Caucasus Mountains. We haven't intrude anyone's territory and these mountains serve that neither Russia could intrude our territory. Unfortunately, their aircrafts fly higher than Elbrus, Kazbegi and Mkinvartsveri mountains. The main thing is that our statehood is maintained and it will exist forever. We will continue to develop our Armed Forces and do not anyone have any illusions in connection with it.

There is a discussion held concerning the military operations and the Russian aggression and we welcome it - our people is proud of the Georgian Army and they have all the rights to know everything about the weak and strong aspects of the Army. Besides a commission has been formed in the parliament headed by the parliamentary opposition. These are people who's viewpoints may not always be exactable for us but I want to ask you to cooperate with them and pass them detailed information. It is necessary to have the representatives of the opposition involved in the trust group to let the society and the full spectrum of the opposition have a full picture of financing and spending money - what is money spent on and what perspectives we all have. We have to be absolutely transparent and open before the civil control and the parliamentary process. This will not weaken us but on the contrary it will make us stronger. Our Army is the Army of the democratic country, our Armed Forces belong to our society. The whole society stands beside you and they will support you - we all know it. Thus, the more contacts we will have with the society the more open we will be to one another in all the issues the more we will cooperate, the more support we will have and we will have a chance to defeat big aggressions by the unity of the people and the Army.

I want to say it once again - we are at the beginning of this fight - we have written only several pages of that book, what the continuation and the end of this book this will be depend on us. We will have to write this book together. If anyone wants to say Georgia is defeated its up to him or her to say so. It's a fact that we are sitting here and Georgia exists. Though always when any enemy attacked us the Georgia state stopped its existence. This did not happen now. The Georgian state exists and we will soon fully stand on the feet. No one will kneel us down. Neither we have to believe those people who say we have won. We all know perfectly that we will have a long way to go before the final victory and that road will not be covered with roses. We are in the initial stage of our fight that we will have to continue with the international commonwealth and restore the principles of justice, humanity, International Law and stop the aggression. As for me I am a specialist of the International Law and the title of my Doctor's Thesis, which I did not finish, was - "Illegal act can not create legal results" - Russia could not create any legal results in connection with Georgia. Everyone could see the unlawfulness of his or her actions. In order not to give a chance to actual results who's legalization Russia tries to fix we all need to work with full energy. We have to continue our integration in the NATO structures, we have to form transparent Armed Forces of the truly democratic civil society, the Armed Forces that do not represent any threat to the peaceful population. I want to express my special gratitude to our warriors who treated with care the population of Tskhinvali and the nearby villages. I have heard many stories how politely and with restraint they treated the population and how big the contrast was compared with aggressors and the bandits they brought in. I want to say many thanks to all the officers and the soldiers for it. When there is a threat to the warriors' life and they treat the civilians with care it's the matter of special talent and dignity. These were our instructions, whatever the situation even for the price of life they should have to defend and to take care of our population. I think that our warriors coped with this task well. Unfortunately many tragedies happened to the aggressors who broke into the territories of the peaceful population, but everyone gets what he deserves. We will develop and get stronger, so will our economy that they couldn't crash. If compared with our economy Russian economy was damaged ten times more. It makes less importance for me. The Russian armed forces got damaged far more, because they were aggressors. They attacked - we defended our selves and not vice versa, as they wanted to present. The same can be said about economy. Our economy will develop and get stronger. We have some difficulties and we will have them in future, but we will overcome them. Together with the economy all governmental structures will develop and get stronger. The same can be said about Armed Forces. This will happen due to our personal intellect, readiness and patriotism. I want to admit that we do not plan to purchase new arms in the near future. We will spend most of our money on economic development; but we will also continue to train servicemen and improve their social conditions. We will continue the training, education, and the improvement of the social conditions, of our military even faster. The will feel no lack of attention, they will have all the appreciation for their deeds and for future actions. I want you to resume adequately - the reorganization that I have already spoken about professionalism will always be encouraged. People will better show their worth in their new work. We have dismissed many people from this structure. I considered it write and it will always be so. A person will be punished or praised according to the results. Everybody will be where he will better show his worth and serve the country. We must always learn on our mistakes and achievements. I will always be devoted to you and we will always support you and I am sure we will have the great success. We all will be devoted to our country, its future, its integrity, its democracy and its people. We continue our work.

Communications Office
of the President of Georgia

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