Georgia-Russian War Escalates





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Published on Aug 11, 2008

Russia has bombed a military airfield outside the Georgian capital Tbilisi and government officials there say Moscow is massing troops in its other breakaway region Abkhazia.

Intense fighting, claims and counter-claims and civilians paying a heavy price - day three of the widening conflict in the Caucasus.

Georgia says its withdrawn its troops from the capital of disputed South Ossetia.

[Kakha Lomaia, Georgian Security Secretary]:
"The military commanders in the battlefield regrouped the troops and pulled them out of the city of Tskhinvali."

Georgia's security minister says the move shouldn't be seen as a military defeat. He says it was taken to protect civilians bearing the brunt of fierce air and ground attacks - some 2,000 dead, as many wounded and more than 30,000 streaming towards the Russian border.

There are reports that both sides have now agreed to create two "humanitarian corridors" to get the wounded and the displaced out of South Ossetia.

Russia, meantime, is pouring more troops and heavy armour into the Russian-backed enclave and there have been more air strikes.

Bombs were dropped on this military airfield outside the Georgian capital Tbilisi - site of a factory producing fighter jets.

Georgia says Russia has ignored a ceasefire offer it made on Saturday and is instead massing troops in the breakaway province of Abkhazia and warships on the Black Sea. The Georgian president:

[Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgian President]:
"We must stop this madness. We propose to Russia an immediate ceasefire and a start of talks. I am appealing to President Medvedev to stop this madness. It's not in the interest of Georgia or of Russia."

Echoes of the Cold War as international appeals to both sides to stop fighting and start talking go unheeded.


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