SUKHUM / AQW'A — In a poignant tribute, Sukhumi witnessed the "Candle of Memory" event on Monday, August 7th, in front of the Samson Chanba Abkhaz Drama Theater. Organized by Abkhazia's Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the State Committee for Youth and Sports Affairs, the event memorialised the victims of the 2008 conflict.
Marking the exact time at 23:30, participants remembered when Georgian troops initiated their shelling of Tskhinval 15 years ago. In a symbolic gesture, attendees released burning lanterns into the sky, illuminating the night in remembrance of those lost during the 2008 upheavals.
Open hostilities began with a large-scale Georgian military operation against the town of Tskhinvali and the surrounding areas, launched in athe night of 7 to 8 August 2008. Operations started with a massive Georgian artillery attack. At the very outset of the operation the Commander of the Georgian contingent to the Joint Peacekeeping Forces (JPKF), Brigadier General Mamuka Kurashvili, stated that the operation was aimed at restoring the constitutional order in the territory of South Ossetia. Somewhat later the Georgian side refuted Mamuka Kurashvili's statement as unauthorised and invoked the countering of an alleged Russian invasion as justification of the operation.
— Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia - [Heidi] "Tagliavini report.
Recalling the events from that fateful night of August 7th to 8th, 2008, Georgia launched an assault on South Ossetia, employing "Grad" rocket systems. This assault led to considerable damage in Tskhinvali, the region's capital. In response, Russia, defending South Ossetian residents – many of whom had adopted Russian citizenship – intervened militarily. After intense combat spanning five days, Russian troops succeeded in driving the Georgian military out. Notably, on August 26th, 2008, Moscow formally recognised the sovereignty of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia.