Knowing no one got seriously hurt makes watching this video clip somewhat easier. Apparently, Russian soldiers don’t particularly like international journalists watching them around the Georgian city of Gori, and one in particular made that spectacularly clear. When firing his pistol in the air didn’t chase Israeli reporters from Ynet out of the area, he aimed a little lower:
“We arrived on the outskirts of Gori on Thursday, during the afternoon. There were a lot of Russian troops and television crews. We arrived about two hours after an altercation almost broke out between Russian troops and Georgians. The Georgians were there to welcome their army, and the Russian troops brushed them off.
“As I was taking pictures around Gori, a Russian soldier approached me and started shooting his weapon in the air,” added Sheizaf. “People were running scared and our driver had disappeared. Suddenly a soldier appeared, I didn’t know if he was an Osstetian or a Chechen. He pointed his weapon at me and screamed, ‘Where are the car keys?’
“I approached the driver’s side of the car and saw that the keys were in the ignition. I tried to get into the car and run, but the soldier pushed me and then he fired a round which nearly hit my foot, it actually hit the tip of my sandal.[“]
The YouTube description says the soldier was drunk, a detail that doesn’t make it into the Ynet report, but may account for why the journalist survived his encounter. Russian soldiers stole the car and sped off, taking with them the reporters’ passports — which could have complicated their exit from Georgia, especially with the diplomatic turmoil in the nation at the moment.
Surprisingly, Russian officers drove the car back to the journalists within 20 minutes. They got better treatment than the Georgians, who still cannot come back into their own city, which the Russians have blockaded.
Update: This wasn’t an isolated incident, apparently. A Georgian reporter got hit by a sniper on live television, but kept her composure (via Power Line):
Maybe Russia has declared open season on reporters? And why would a sniper aim for an unarmed woman in the middle of the street in broad daylight, who’s doing nothing but reporting for a television station? Mighty brave fellows, those Russian soldiers.