Selasa, 12 Agustus 2008

The Russian military advanced into Georgia on two fronts Monday, heading toward cities outside the breakaway provinces that have been the centers of fighting.From the flashpoint South Ossetia, the Russian military moved south toward the central Georgia city of Gori, Georgia said. Russia said its troops were on the outskirts of the city.
A CNN crew in Gori saw Georgian forces piling into trucks and leaving the city at high speed.
CNN saw thousands of troops driving out of the city, as well as thousands of civilians traveling by convoy from Gori toward Tbilisi.
Gori lies along Georgia's main east-west highway, and is an important site for Georgia's communication systems.
Russian troops were also in Senaki, in western Georgia, having advanced from the breakaway area of Abkhazia, Russian and Georgian officials said.Russia's Interfax news agency cited an official with the Russian Defense Ministry saying troops were in Senaki to "prevent attacks by Georgian military units against South Ossetia." Senaki is home to a Georgian military base.Georgia's interior ministry said Russia had also seized control of Zugdidi -- a city on the route between Abkhazia and Senaki.Georgia launched a crackdown Thursday against separatist fighters in South Ossetia. Russia, which supports the separatists and has peacekeepers in the region, sent its military into South Ossetia on Friday.
Russia and Georgia have accused each other of killing numerous civilians during the conflict.
The Georgian government said it was recalling the army to Tbilisi "to defend the capital." U.S. officials reported seeing Georgian tanks and personnel pouring into the capital.Russia has not threatened to enter Tbilisi and says its operations are peacekeeping. However, Georgia fears an invasion of its capital.
In Washington on Monday, President Bush said Russia's attacks against Georgia have "substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world."
Bush also warned Russia against trying to depose Georgia's government, saying evidence suggests Russia may be preparing to do so.
He called on Russia to accept a cease-fire proposal that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili had signed.
Saakashvili said Monday the internationally brokered proposal would be taken to Moscow by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb on Monday evening.
A Georgian National Security Council official said the proposal called for an unconditional cease-fire, a non-use of force agreement, a withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgian territory, including theegion, and provisions for international peacekeeping and mediation.
Later Monday, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations said Russia would not sign off on a draft U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire discussed by the U.N. Security Council.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the proposed resolution, drafted by French officials, was lacking in a "serious number" of areas.
"We will look at the draft and try to bring it to a standard where it can play a role in this," Churkin said.
One of the issues Churkin mentioned was that the draft resolution, which has not been made public, did not mention Georgia's previous "aggression" in South Ossetia.
During a conference call with reporters Monday, Saakashvili said Georgia was "in the process of invasion, occupation, and annihilation of an independent, democratic country."Saakashvili abruptly ended the call, saying: "We have to go to the shelter because there are Russian planes flying over the presidential palace here, sorry."
Video showed a chaotic scene outside the palace, with the president being rushed away under heavy security.Saakashvili later accused Russia of ethnic cleansing -- a charge the Russians have repeatedly leveled at Georgia, and which both sides deny.
He said Georgian troops had downed "18 or 19" Russian warplanes and killed hundreds of Russian troops.Saakashvili said Russia had 500 tanks and 25,000 troops inside Georgia. A Russian defense ministry said only four planes had been lost. Watch more on Russian bombing ยป
Russia said it has no interest in interfering with Georgia's affairs but wants to protect its peacekeepers and the residents of South Ossetia.
Russian Defense Ministry Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said Georgian troops in South Ossetia were being driven out.
"At the moment, our troops are pushing out, capturing and disarming groups of Georgian law enforcement agencies which have been surrounded in the capital of South Ossetia," Nogovitsyn said.
Russia controls the sky
The skies over the breakaway regions and Georgia belonged to the Russians, he said, as the Georgian air force was not flying.They had "inflicted damage on operational systems, troops and military facilities of Georgia," but Nogovitsyn denied Russian bombers had attacked a civilian radar installation at the Tbilisi International Airport.
A Georgian Foreign Ministry statement said "several dozen Russian bombers" were over Georgia Monday afternoon "intensively bombing Tbilisi, Poti, villages in Adjara, and elsewhere."
"Overnight, as many as 50 Russian bombers were reported operating simultaneously over Georgia, targeting civilian populations in cities and villages, as well as radio and telecommunications sites," the statement said.
Colonel-General Nogovitsyn repeated an earlier charge that Georgian troops were engaged in genocide against civilians in South Ossetia, which he said he could "prove to the media."
"During their mop-up operations in South Ossetia, Georgian commandos have thrown hand grenades into the basements where civilians were hiding," he said. "That's what we call genocide."
South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali, lay in smoldering ruins after four days of fighting. Each side accused the other of killing large numbers of civilians. Russia said at least 2,000 people had been killed in Tskhinvali.
Georgia began withdrawing its forces from Tskhinvali early Sunday.
Georgia, a pro-Western ally of the U.S., is intent on asserting its authority over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both of which have strong Russian-backed separatist movements.
The situation in South Ossetia escalated rapidly from Thursday night, when Georgia said it launched an operation into the region after artillery fire from separatists killed 10 people. It accused Russia of backing the separatists.South Ossetia, which has a population of about 70,000, is inside Georgia but has an autonomous government. Many South Ossetians support unification with North Ossetia, which would make them part of Russia.Russia supports the South Ossetian government, has given passports to many in South Ossetia, and calls them Russian citizens.