Georgia is a transcontinental country in the Caucasus region, situated at the dividing line between Europe and Asia. Georgia is bordered to the north by the Russian Federation, to the east by Azerbaijan, to the south by Armenia and to the southwest by Turkey. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km²; its population, excluding Abkhazia and South Ossetia (called the Tskhinvali region by Georgians), is 4.4 million, with nearly 84% ethnic Georgians.
In August 2008, Georgia engaged in an armed conflict with Russia and separatist groups from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In the aftermath of the conflict Russia recognized Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, but the West insists that they are still part of Georgia. On August 28, 2008, the Parliament of Georgia passed a resolution declaring Abkhazia and South Ossetia "Russian-occupied territories".
The 2008 South Ossetia War was an armed conflict between Georgia on the one side, and Russia and the separatist republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other. It occurred in August 2008 and involved land, air and sea warfare.
A civil war fought after the breakup of the Soviet Union left parts of South Ossetia under the control of a unrecognised separatist government backed by Russia. Other parts remained in control of Georgia. Hostilities escalated during June and July 2008. On the evening of August 7, 2008 Georgia launched a ground and air based military attack on South Ossetia's capital Tskhinvali. The events during August 7, remain a matter of debates and controversy, because Georgia claims that it was responding to Russian troop movements, this claim has not gained support from Georgia's western allies. Russia responded by sending troops into South Ossetia and launching bombing raids further into Georgia. On August 8, Russian naval forces blocked Georgia's coast and landed ground forces and paratroopers on Georgian coast. Abkhazian forces opened a second front by attacking the Kodori Gorge, held by Georgia, and invaded western parts of Georgia's interior. After five days of heavy fighting, Georgian forces were ejected from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russian troops invaded Georgia proper, occupying the cities of Poti and Gori among others.