Georgia lost up to 3,000 men in Caucasus: Russian official

September 15th, 2008 - 3:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Sep 15 (RIA Novosti) Georgia lost up to 3,000 soldiers and police personnel during military action to take control of its breakaway region of South Ossetia, a Russian intelligence source said Monday. Georgian troops attacked the republic on Aug 8 precipitating a Russian counter-offensive to “force Georgia to accept peace.”

“Our data gathered from various sources indicate that Georgia lost up to 3,000 servicemen and police in attack on South Ossetia,” the source said, adding that Georgia’s Western allies also were aware of numbers involved.

“Georgia’s leadership is attempting to cover up the real scale of the losses and is officially reporting about 70 confirmed deaths,” he said. “But their figures are significantly understated.”

The source said Georgia suffered such heavy losses because of the poor training and low morale of its military personnel, especially reservists.

“Besides, many Georgian soldiers, who are accounted for as missing in action, are deserters,” he added. “Georgian police are still looking for these people, who simply left the battlefield.”

Official statements last week put Russia’s losses in the short conflict with Georgia at 66 killed and at least 340 wounded.

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