Saturday, Aug 9, 2008
Russia and Georgia were effectively at war last night with fierce fighting near the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia and hundreds of civilians reported dead.
A column of 150 Russian tanks and other military vehicles entered South Ossetia yesterday after Georgian troops launched a major offensive to retake control of the area from Ossetian rebels late on Thursday night.
The Georgian government said 30 people were killed in bombing raids by Russian jets, which it said had attacked the capital, Tbilisi, the Black Sea port of Poti and a military base at Senaki in addition to targets within South Ossetia, still formally part of Georgia.
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The Russian intervention, which Moscow said was to protect its peacekeeping forces stationed there, came as a minister in the separatist administration of South Ossetia claimed more than 1,400 people had died in shelling of the Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, by Georgian troops.
The Russian military said 12 of its troops had been killed and 150 wounded in the fighting inside South Ossetia. “Now our peacekeepers are waging a fierce battle with regular forces from the Georgian army in the southern region of [Ossetian capital] Tskhinvali,” said a spokesman for the Russian force.
This article was posted: Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 4:19 am