Ryan Grist

Ryan Grist is a former British Army Captain who served as a monitor of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Georgia during the breakout of the 2008 South Ossetia war. Grist, who holds a PhD in International Conflict Analysis, came to public attention shortly after the war, when he placed some of the blame for the conflict on the Georgian side, he has maintained that the Georgian authorities at the highest level were in part responsible for the outbreak of widespread fighting. However, he has said that his comments had been over-interpreted and that "I have never said there was no provocation by the South Ossetians."In an interview, Grist admitted to crossing to the Russian-controlled side during the conflict without authorization, which cost him his OSCE job. During his unauthorized trip in South Ossetia, Grist met with OSCE local staff based in the area, the de facto authorities, he remained in communication with several embassies including the French Embassy. At that time the French authorities were attempting to negotiate a ceasefire.

He met with a friend named Lira Tskhovrebova. In December 2008, an investigation by the Associated Press alleged that Grist's "friend" Lira Tskhovrebova was not an independent activist as she claimed, but rather an associate of the South Ossetian KGB and by extension, the Russian intelligence services. Grist denies being a Russian spy. On the night war broke out, Grist was the senior OSCE official in Georgia, he was in charge of unarmed monitors. He coordinated the evacuation of these observers, based on their observations, briefed European Union diplomats in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, with his assessment of the conflict; this contradicted the version that the same diplomats had heard earlier from the Georgian Foreign Minister. In his briefing Mr. Grist concluded that, before the Russian bombardment began, "Georgian rockets and artillery were hitting civilian areas in the breakaway region of South Ossetia every 15 or 20 seconds". According to Mr. Grist, it was Georgia that launched the first military strikes against Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital.

Georgian authorities accused Grist of working for the Russian intelligence service. "It was clear to me that the Georgian attack was indiscriminate and disproportionate to any, if indeed there had been any, provocation,” Grist said. “The attack was in my mind, an indiscriminate attack on the town, as a town."Mr. Grist's views were echoed and confirmed by another senior OSCE official, Stephen Young, a former Royal Air Force Wing Commander. Grist has accused the OSCE of failing to warn that this summer's Russia-Georgia conflict was looming, he was critical of the Head of the OSCE Mission to Georgia, Ambassador Terhi Hakala, for her reluctance to take a firm position regarding the dangerous buildup of Georgian military forces around South Ossetia in the weeks before the conflict, the use of sniper attacks into South Ossetia by Georgian forces, the use of indirect fire weapons by Georgia. According to the BBC, he had warned of Georgia's military activity and buildup of forces south of Tskhinvali before the Georgian move into the South Ossetia region.

He said it was an "absolute failure" that reports were not passed on by bosses, most of whom were on summer vacation. On 7 August Hakala, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Georgia had told the OSCE chairman Alexander Stubb, that the situation was dangerous, but that it was not a problem. At 11:30 p.m on 7 August Georgia began a major artillery assault on Tskhinvali. It was followed by a ground invasion in the early hours of 8 August and Russian forces responded that day. Major warfare lasted for five days. Georgia and Western diplomats in Tbilisi questioned Grist's objectivity. Terhi Hakala, head of the OSCE mission to Georgia, dismissed the monitors' claims and the OSCE Deputy Spokeswoman Virginie Coulloudon told the journalists that although OSCE monitors make "patrol reports" from the ground, "the OSCE is not in a capacity to say who started the war and what happened before the night of 7-8."Contrary to Grist's assertions, journalists documented dozens of eyewitnesses accounts confirming that pro-Moscow separatist forces had indeed been shelling the Georgian villages before 7 August.

The eyewitness accounts were consistent with the 5 August 2008 report issued by a joint monitoring group including OSCE observers and representatives of Russian peacekeepers in the region. The report, signed by the commander of Russian peacekeepers General Marat Kulakhmetov, said there was evidence of attacks against ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia; the report stated that South Ossetian separatists were using heavy weapons against the Georgian villages, prohibited by a 1992 cease-fire agreement. Grist maintained that none of these attacks on Georgian villages justified the use of indiscriminate Grad missiles by the Georgian military onto a civilian town, Tshkinvali. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ryan Grist said that on 12 August he went to visit a friend in Tskhinvali, Lira Tskhovrebova, well connected with the separatist authorities. In December 2008, an investigation by the Associated Press alleged that Lira Tskhovrebova was not an independent activist as she claimed and was connected to South Ossetian KGB and by extension the Russian intelligence services.

Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of the United States expressed his doubts about Tskhovrebova, the State Department cancelled all scheduled meetings with the self-proclaimed activist

Wolf (crater)

Wolf is a lunar impact crater that lies in the south-central part of the Mare Nubium, a lunar mare in the southern hemisphere of the Moon. It lies to the north-northwest of the walled plain Pitatus, east-southeast of the prominent crater Bullialdus, it is named after the German astronomer Max Wolf. The interior floor of this crater has been flooded by lava, leaving only an irregular, broken rim projecting above the surface; the surviving rim is not quite circular, having outward bulges to the west. It rises to a maximum height of about 0.7 km. The smaller crater Wolf B has overlaid the southern rim, the two have now merged into one formation. Low ridges connect to the exterior rim to the south. By convention these features are identified on lunar maps by placing the letter on the side of the crater midpoint, closest to Wolf. 827 Wolfiana 1217 Maximiliana Mons Wolff Wolf at The Moon Wiki