Georgia's president has called for a united front to face Russia, fifteen years after a fifth of the country's territory was seized and occupied in an invasion.
Georgia’s president has marked the fifteenth anniversary of Russia’s invasion of her country in August 2008, laying wreaths at the Mukhatgverdi Fraternal Cemetery near Tbilisi.
Russian forces still occupy a fifth of Georgia’s territory after seizing parts of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
President Salome Zourabichvili said: “We have an enemy fighting against us, sometimes through war or with soft power, which has been very apparent lately, and our unity is needed to resist it. If we truly desire this independence and statehood, we must come to our senses, recognise our shared danger, and unite in the face of a single foe rather than compete against one another."
Decorated army veteran Berdia Zazadze says the five days of fighting have left a lasting mark on him.
He said: "We engaged the enemy on the 7th of August around midnight, we provided artillery support for our boys. I still can’t get the images out of my head, everything that happened there, all the soldiers and civilians that perished."
Zazadze was awarded the Order of Vakhtang Gorgasal after returning to the front line to rescue a wounded comrade. He later gave the medal to the family of a Georgian who died fighting the Russians in Ukraine.
He settled with his family in a village close to one of the occupied territories after leaving the army in 2021.