Russian president orders humanitarian aid for South OssetiaAugust 9th, 2008 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS
Moscow, Aug 9 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered humanitarian aid to people affected by the ongoing conflict between Georgia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia. “The president has instructed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu and Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev to provide humanitarian aid to people affected by the escalation of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict,” the Kremlin press service said.
Georgia Friday attacked the separatist south Caucasian region and its fighter jets bombed several areas.
According to various reports, a large part of the republic’s capital, Tskhinvali, has been destroyed and South Ossetian authorities reported numerous civilian casualties.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “A Russian humanitarian convoy has come under fire. Panic is growing among the local population, and the number of refugees is increasing. There are reports of ethnic cleansing in some villages.”
Meanwhile Russian and Georgian armed forces were locked in combat Friday over control of Caucasus region of South Ossetia, with hundreds of civilians reported killed or injured.
The escalating crisis prompted calls for restraint from international governments and bodies, including the US, European Union (EU), NATO and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Eduard Kokoity, South Ossetia’s leader, said more than 1,400 civilians had died as a result of the combat beginning in sporadic firefights Aug 1, and shifting to full-blown warfare early Thursday.
Georgian fire killed at least 10 Russian peacekeepers stationed in the breakaway Georgian province in severe fighting centred in Tskhinvali, Russian army spokesmen said.