BRUSSELS — Georgia and Russia both claimed to find vindication in Wednesday's independent report on the causes of their 2008 war, but neither seemed likely to be able to take the moral high ground because of its blunt judgments.
The EU-sponsored report supports Russia's insistence that Georgia launched the short but intense war with an indiscriminate rocket and artillery barrage on the separatist capital of South Ossetia – an act the commission said was not justifiable under international law.
Georgia can find support for its claim that Russia taunted and provoked it for years before the assault, then responded with disproportionate force, sending armored vehicles deep into undisputed Georgian territory.
Russia's retaliation went "far beyond the reasonable limits of defense," the report said, rejecting claims the country was trying to prevent genocide with its invasion of its southern neighbor, a former Soviet nation with fervent hopes of joining the EU and NATO.
The beginnings of the July 2008 war had been murky, its aftermath contentious.