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Russia steps up attacks on Georgia

Michael Mainville
AFP [1]
Monday, Aug 11, 2008

Russia intensified attacks on Georgia on Monday, the Tblisi government said, ignoring appeals for a ceasefire and US diplomatic warnings.

After taking control of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, Russian warplanes carried out fresh bombing raids in Georgia, Georgia’s foreign ministry said.

With Russia saying more than 2,000 people have been killed, Europe led diplomatic efforts to end the conflict with the French and Finnish foreign minister holding talks in Tblisi on Monday ahead of a meeting with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on Tuesday.

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US President George W. Bush, Georgia’s strongest western ally, told Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the Russian offensive was “unacceptable”.

“More than 50 Russian warplanes are flying over Georgia. Tbilisi was bombed. Bombs hit the village of Kojori and Makhata mountain,” the foreign ministry in Tblisi said.

Russian planes bombed radars at Tbilisi airport and hit civilian targets in the Georgian city of Gori, an interior ministry spokesman said.

Russian planes had already bombed a special forces base and an air traffic control centre in the Tbilisi suburbs, the spokesman said.

Explosions could be heard from the centre of the capital.

Three Russian soldiers were killed and another 18 wounded by Georgian forces in South Ossetia on Monday, despite Georgia saying it had withdrawn its forces, Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted a South Ossetian spokesman as saying.

Russia, which has already moved battleships to the Black Sea, is preparing to deploy 9,000 troops to bolster its forces inside a second separatist Georgian region, Abkhazia, a military spokesman was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Full article here [1]