We’ve been questioning the ‘2,000 dead’ claim by Russian media, and to date they haven’t come up with any reliable numbers about just how many were killed in South Ossetia. It does appear clear the Russian media was way out of the ballpark with the claim of 2,000 dead, by a factor of about 40 or 50 times the actual death toll.
Total number of people killed since the launch of the armed conflict reached 215 on the Georgian side as of August 19.
69 of them are civilians.
133 killed are the Georgian Ministry of Defense personnel, including four servicemen of the reserve troops and 13 – the Interior Ministry personnel.
In fact reports are now out that the town that was ‘leveled’ according to Russian news reports is still standing, and the only hospital in the area had 40 deaths reported.
Researchers for Human Rights Watch, an international advocacy group, had similar findings as McClatchy about casualty numbers in Tskhinvali. A doctor at the city’s hospital told the group’s researchers that 44 bodies were brought by and was “adamant” that they represented the majority of deaths there because the city’s morgue was not functioning at the time.
“Obviously there’s a discrepancy there, a big discrepancy,” Rachel Denber, deputy director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch, said about the apparently inflated casualty figures. “It’s not clear to us at all where those numbers are coming from.”