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2008 South Ossetia Crisis: First Prelude to NATO-Russia Proxy War

Tuesday marked the 15th anniversary of the Western-backed Georgian government's invasion of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, killing Russian peacekeepers and sparking a military intervention by Moscow. Why did the conflict start, and how did it play out? Check out Sputnik's infographic for details.
15 years ago, Russia and Georgia were thrust into a five-day military conflict. The crisis was fomented by Mikheil Saakashvili, the US and European-educated Georgian politician who came to power in a color revolution coup, and who vowed to resolve the South Ossetia question by force. In the conflict's aftermath, South Ossetia and Abkhazia gained independence from Georgia, with Russia, Nicaragua, Nauru, Syria and Venezuela recognizing the statelets' newfound status.
The Ossetian crisis's roots stretch back more than thirty years to the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it has been convincingly argued as being a kind of test run for the future Russia-NATO conflict over Ukraine, coming on the heels of the Western alliance's plans to absorb both countries into the Western bloc - a prospect which Moscow finds unfathomable.
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