Timeline: Countdown to conflict
Since late April, tensions between Georgia and Russia have been rising.
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2008 19:53 GMT
The Russian checkpoint on the road into Gori from Tbilisi, the country's only major east-west link, is a flashpoint between Russian and Georgian troops [AFP]


April 22: Georgia claims that a Russian warplane shot down an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft that crashed over the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

April 26: Russia is ready to use "military means" to protect its residents if war breaks out in the Georgian separatist provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a foreign ministry official says.

May 1: Additional Russian troops deployed in the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia. Nato says Moscow is stoking tensions in Georgia's separatist regions.

May 7: The Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia says it shot down two unmanned Georgian spy aeroplanes, two weeks after a similar incident.

May 18: Georgia accuses Russia of spying and political interference in Abkhazia.

May 25: Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's president, wins election. Opposition threatens protests and parliamentary boycott as results emerge.

May 27: Georgia demands Russia pay compensation for an unmanned reconnaissance spy plane that a UN report says was shot down by a Russian fighter plane in April.

June 6: Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, tells West that Russia and Georgia "can sort out our relations by ourselves".

June 18: Moscow condemns "acts of provocation" after Georgia detains four peacekeepers in Abkhazia.

July 2: Heightened tension between Georgia and Russia, with several explosions in Abkhazia. US warns Russia against stoking tensions in breakaway regions.

July 5: Russia's defence ministry warns that a "new war" could break out in Abkhazia if Tbilisi uses force to attempt to resolve the conflict.

July 6: Georgian police officer hurt in Abkhazia as Russian peacekeepers blame Tbilisi's agents.

July 9: Three Georgian police officers and two soldiers from the separatist government of Abkhazia are shot in clashes.

July 10: Georgia recalls its ambassador to Russia amid growing tensions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

July 15: The US and Russia hold military exercises on either side of the Caucasus mountains.

August 1: Heavy fighting breaks out in South Ossetia, killing six people and injuring seven.

August 3: Hundreds of women and children are evacuated across the border to Russia.

August 5: Officials from Georgia and South Ossetia agree to speak for the first time in a decade.

August 6: Leader of South Ossetia rejects meeting with Georgia due to format of talks.

August 8: Georgian tanks launch an attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, killing at least 15 people.

August 9: Tbilisi says Russian aircraft hit targets across Georgia, as the battle in the breakaway region continues.

August 10: Tbilisi says it wants immediate negotiations on a "termination of hostilities".

August 11: Georgian officials say eastern city of Gori is captured by advancing Russians.

August 12: Tbilisi says Russian troops take the town of Gori, 60km from Tbilisi, as others enter from Abkhazia. Medvedev announces ceasefire.

August 13: Pockets of fighting still reported but both sides sign up to EU-backed peace plan.

August 14: Russia continues operations in Georgia.

August 15: George Bush, the US president, accuses Russia of "bullying" Georgia. His comments come as Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, visits Tblisi.

August 16: Georgians wait for Russian withdrawal after Moscow accepts ceasefire deal.

August 17: Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, offers support for Georgia's bid for Nato membership.

August 18: Russia pledges to start pulling out combat troops from Georgia but there is little sign of movement.

August 19: Russia accuses Nato of trying to "whitewash a criminal regime" in Tbilisi and seeking to rearm Georgia's leaders. Medvedev says Russian troops will pull back to South Ossetia by Friday.

August 22: Russia withdraws from Gori and pulls back into South Ossetia.

August 25: A US naval guided-missile destroyer arrives in the Georgian port of Batumi, located 80km south of Poti.

August 28: Russian warships are sent to the port in Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia.

September 9: Russia plans to permanently station 7,600 troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

September 13: Russian troops withdraw from Poti.

September 17: Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, signs treaties with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, committing Moscow to defend Georgian breakaway regions from "outside attack".

October 3: At least six people are killed in a car bomb at the Russian army's headquarters in Tskhinvali.

November 5: Medvedev says the conflict over South Ossetia was "the result of the arrogant course of the American administration".

November 18: About 20,000 ethnic Georgians remain unable to return to their homes more than three months after the Russia-Georgia conflict ended, Amnesty International said in a report.

November 19: Russia and Georgia hold first substantial talks since war over ways to ease tensions over breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

November 23: Warning shots allegedly fired near Georgian president's convoy as he takes Polish president to see border of South Ossetia. Saakashvili calls it Russian "provocation". Russia denies claims they fired the shots.

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