Georgia — In addition to killing civilians, attacking and destroying both military and civilian infrastructures the Russian military are now trying to cause an ecological disaster in Georgia.
According to eyewitnesses Russian military helicopters around 12.30 p.m. 15th August dropped some sort of flammable substances into the Borjomi forests in a mountainous central part of the country that is internationally recognised as having a great significance to the global biodiversity. The area has one of the most popular spa and ski resorts of the former Soviet Union and is famous for its mineral waters. Most importantly the site is located at least 100 km away from the South Ossetia conflict zone.
A Borjomi national park official told us this afternoon that fires simultaneously broke out in multiple spots in and around the Borjomi national park shortly after Russian military helicopters were seen flying over the area. The park administration has managed to contain all seats of fire within the national park. But elsewhere in the area and especially near village Tsemi, fires are burning out of control. Several hundreds of hectares of precious forest have already been destroyed and fires are now approaching human settlements.
While Georgian authorities and volunteers try their best to contain forest fires, we urge international community and especially environmental groups and conservation organizations (especially those based in Russia) to call upon the Russia’s Government to immediately stop this and other inhumane actions in and against Georgia.
Note: NACRES is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization, founded in 1989. Its mission is to safeguard the biodiversity of Georgia and the South Caucasus, through conservation activities at national and local levels, based on sound science, sustainability principles and local participation. In 2004, NACRES requested assistance from Fauna & Flora International to train its staff and support their institutional development. NACRES websites: