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Tensions rise in North Caucasus

Tensions rise in North Caucasus 08.08.2008
Georgian forces have launched a massive military offensive to take control of its breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Fighter planes and heavy artillery are bombarding the capital Tskhinvali and fighting is raging in the outskirts. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has begun an emergency debate on the situation after a request from Russia.

Georgian Su-25 attack planes are bombing the South Ossetian village of Kvernet, according to local officials. They also claim Georgia is using truck-mounted missile launchers to shell the centre of Tskhinvali.

According to the latest information, at least 15 civilians have died and an unknown number injured in the storming of Tskhinvali, which lasted several hours. The city is surrounded by Georgian forces. Gunfire from high-caliber weapons began around midnight. Georgia began a large-scale military operation against the unrecognized republic simultaneously.

Georgian forces took six villages in South Ossetia under their control in the course of several hours and surrounded Tskhinvali. Resistance from the city is preventing the Georgians from entering the city, however, where many buildings and streets have already been damaged.

North Ossetia's President Teimuraz Mamsurov has accused Georgian forces of hitting a humanitarian aid convoy travelling from his country to South Ossetia.

Its been confirmed that some Russian peacekeepers working in the region have been killed in the fighting, although exact figures have not yet been released.

Yuri Popov - co-chairman of the joint control commission of the Russian Foreign Ministry for settling the conflict told the Itar-Tass news agency: "The headquarters of the peacekeeping forces have been partially destroyed".

Photo: http://zioneocon.blogspot.com/

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