On Monday, the Russian military advanced into Georgia on two fronts, 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. Russian troops were also in Senaki, in western Georgia, having advanced from the breakaway area of Abkhazia. Georgia's interior ministry said Russia had also seized control of Zugdidi -- a city on the route between Abkhazia and Senaki.
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.
On Monday, President Bush said Russia's attacks against Georgia have "substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world." He stated that Russia should accept the cease-fire proposal from Georgia.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said the internationally brokered proposal would be taken to Moscow by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb on Monday evening. The proposal calls for an unconditional cease-fire, a non-use of force agreement, a withdrawal of Russian troops from Georgian territory, including the South Ossetia region, and provisions for international peacekeeping and mediation.
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, because the proposed resolution, drafted by French officials, was lacking in a "serious number" of areas. Namely, the draft resolution does not mention Georgia's previous "aggression" in South Ossetia.
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, which supports the South Ossetian government, has given passports to many in South Ossetia, and calls them Russian citizens.
BLOG UPDATE (08/12/2008 9:00 AM EST) - CNN.com reports Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that he had ordered an end to military operations against Georgia, but reports from Tbilisi say that there were more attacks after the statement was made.
Prior to meeting with French President Sarkozy, Medvedev is quoted as saying, "I have reached a decision to halt the operation to force the Georgian authorities to peace. The aggressor has been punished and has incurred very significant losses. Its armed forces are disorganized."
Read more about the Russian cease-fire here.
Read CNN.com articles about the Russia - Georgia conflict here and here.
Read the New York Times articles about the Russia - Georgia Conflict here and here.
plez sez: if you thought for even a moment that i was referring to the state of georgia (in the united states)... go to jail. go directly to jail. do not pass GO. do not collect your $200.
you can rest assured that plezWorld has no horse in this race, except my college russian professor was a sweet lady from tbilisi, georgia.
i get a slight chuckle when i read that the georgian president seeks assistance from the US and NATO (the same NATO that wouldn't allow georgia to join because of pressure from russia). i laugh alittle harder when i hear president bush admonishing the russians for invading a sovereign nation, this being the same george w. bush who invaded a sovereign nation five years ago... a sovereign nation, named IRAQ, that had done NOTHING to the united states!
before he started laughing, it's a sure bet that russian prime minister vladimir putin told french president nicolas sarkozy to kiss his ass!
and i'm sure that after he stopped laughing, putin told bush to kiss his ass! i mean, what are we going to do? all of the us forces are stretched thin in iraq and afghanistan... we don't have the bandwidth to even consider joining a peacekeeping force at the russia-georgia border. and if we had the bandwidth, we wouldn't have the balls to join the NATO forces necessary to enforce a cease-fire by the russians. i guess all we can do is condemn the act and hope we can shame the russians into leaving the poor georgians alone. ROTFLMAO!
and i bet georgia (if there is still a georgia after this conflict is resolved) will think twice before starting something that they sure as hell can't finish... like the old saying goes, "don't start none, won't be none!"