Georgia withdraws its forces from South OssetiaAugust 10th, 2008 - 12:34 pm ICT by ANI
Moscow, Aug 10 (ANI): Georgia has reportedly withdrawn its forces from the separatist region of South Ossetia to positions at or south of those held when conflict started earlier this week. According to an Interior Ministry spokesman, Russian troops had not entered Georgia from South Ossetia, but fighting was continuing, as reported by BBC. As many as 2,000 people may have been killed and 30,000 made homeless as the chaotic conflict between Georgian and Russian forces in the pro-Moscow enclave of South Ossetia entered its second bloody day on Saturday. The withdrawal of forces indicates that hostilities are taking place across the border between Georgia and South Ossetia, the sources reported.
Georgia’’s parliament has approved a state of war across the country for the next 15 days, while also calling for a ceasefire. Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said that there would be no talks until Georgian troops left the conflict zone.
The situation on the ground in South Ossetia, most of whose population are ethnic Russians, remained highly confused. Earlier, Russian jets bombed a military airfield close to the Georgian capital. Based on Russian and South Ossetian official estimates, the death toll on the South Ossetian side was at least 1,400. According to Moscow, all but a few of the dead were civilians. Blaming Georgia of genocide against the South Ossetian people, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin defended Moscow’’s military action to intervene directly. Puitn said the conflict has created at least 34,000 refugees. Describing it as an “annihilation” of his country’’s democracy, Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili called for an immediate ceasefire to stop. A joint delegation of the US, EU and the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe will leave for Georgia in the hope of brokering a ceasefire. The conflict began when Russian troops poured into South Ossetia on Friday, hours after Georgia launched an offensive aimed at restoring control over the separatist province. (ANI)
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