Sunday, August 10, 2008
Update as of 0500 Eastern Standard Time:
The Georgian military has pulled its troops from the capital of separatist province South Ossetia as thousands of Russian troops moved into the area, military officials confirmed Sunday.
Georgian troops have withdrawn from Tskhinvali back to the positions they held before Thursday when they launched an operation into the region.
The Georgian national council chief said the withdrawal was a show of goodwill, aimed at encouraging Russia to accept a cease-fire.
The official said about 200 Georgian soldiers and 37 Georgian civilians have died so far in Russia attacks.
The withdrawal comes after Russian forces launched an airstrike against a military airfield near the Tbilisi International Airport earlier in the day, Georgian officials told CNN.
The attack near the Georgian capital city came after intense fighting in the former Soviet republic, with dozens of Russian warplanes bombing civilian and military targets in Georgia on Saturday
Inside South Ossetia, civilians have been without water, electricity and basic services for more than a day, said Maia Kardava, a Red Cross spokeswoman in Tbilisi. She said the Red Cross was unable to reach colleagues based in Tskhinvali because their phones had lost power and they were huddled in bomb shelters.
From the NY Times:
He said that Russia had built up large forces in Abkhazia and South Ossetia — breakaway regions that have support from Moscow — including as many as 300 artillery pieces in South Ossetia alone. Russian forces, he said, were also poised just over the border at Larsi, a checkpoint, where they could open a third line of ground attack.
Later Sunday, Mr. Utiashvili said Georgian forces have completely withdrawn from South Ossetia and Tskhinvali was totally under Russian control.
“We face overwhelming control,” he said. “We have undergone massive bombardment. This is to save the lives of the peaceful population.”
Russian reports are contradictory, and a few kilometers away from the conflict zone, Georgian tanks and armed personnel carriers could be seen camouflaged by the side of the road.
As Russia moved more forces into the region and continued aerial bombing, it appeared determined to occupy both South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Russian warplanes struck at least five Georgian cities. Witnesses said they struck a train station in Tsenakhi, five apartment buildings in Gori, and the Black Sea port of Poti.
Georgian officials said that Russian warplanes had attacked the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, operated by British Petroleum, that carries oil to the West from Asia, but that the pipeline had not been struck.
From Russia Today:
Thousands of South Ossetians are trapped in the ruins of a city almost destroyed by Georgian missiles. The remaining residents of Tskhinvali are huddled in cellars beneath bombed-out buildings. They are struggling to survive - without water, food or electricity.
The death toll in Georgia’s breakaway republic has reached at least 2,000, according to Russian and South Ossetian sources. Georgian officials deny the figure is that high.
Twelve Russian peacekeepers have also been killed in the fighting with up to 150 others wounded.
A Russian army general was injured when his unit came under fire. There is no information on his condition yet.
In two days of intense fighting, South Ossetia claims a Georgian bomber was shot down and 12 Georgian tanks destroyed in and around Tskhinvali.
The capital is said to be almost completely ruined and without water and electricity.
More to follow:
God Bless America
Photo is by AP and from the CNN Article. Sphere: Related Content