Family watches as home country is invaded

Tuesday, August 12th 2008, 10:35 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Around 100,000 people were uprooted from their homes during the Georgia and Russia conflicts and a family in Stillwater watched as chaos in their home country unfolded on TV.

Twin brother and sister Otar and Nino Kighuradze said they've spent much of their time in the past weeks watching news reports on the tense situation in Georgia.

"It's very stressful," Otar Kighuradze said. "It's very sad, it's very depressing so watching that you kind of feel helpless because Georgia is a small country and they really cannot stand up to Russia on its own."

Otar Kighuradze, along with his sister and parents, is living in Stillwater and studying at Oklahoma State University.

"I was really sad. I couldn't believe it that Russia would invade a free sovereign nation," Nino Kighuradze said. "I didn't think they would go that far."

Nino Kighuradze was in Georgia for the summer to visit her older sister, Tina, and worked as an interpreter for the Georgia military being trained by U.S. forces. She returned one day before the fighting began.

"One of the main concerns I have is if they are alive or how they're doing," Nino Kighuradze said. "What I've heard is that about half of them are dead now."

The family has learned that their relatives still living in Georgia are safe.

"They bombed the capitol, but they didn't go in there, they didn't try to take it so everybody's safe right now from what we know," Otar Kighuradze said.

The family said they had doubts about the cease-fire, and they want the international community to come to their country's aid, especially the United Nations.

"My hope is that Russia will have to answer for the crimes they're committing right now in Georgia," Nino Kighuradze said.

The brother and sister said they are happy with the stance the U.S. has taken on the situation.

The family has lived in Oklahoma for the past eight years, and plans to return to their home country once their studies at OSU are completed.