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Archive for Monday, August 11, 2008

Russia expands Georgia blitz

A column of Russian tanks rolls near the town of Dzhava on Sunday in the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia. Georgia called a cease-fire Sunday and said it was pulling its embattled troops out of the disputed province of South Ossetia, submitting to Russia's superior firepower, but Moscow disputed the pullout claim.

A column of Russian tanks rolls near the town of Dzhava on Sunday in the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia. Georgia called a cease-fire Sunday and said it was pulling its embattled troops out of the disputed province of South Ossetia, submitting to Russia's superior firepower, but Moscow disputed the pullout claim.

August 11, 2008

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— Russia and Georgia clashed on land and at sea Sunday despite a Georgian cease-fire offer and claim of withdrawal from the separatist province of South Ossetia, officials from both countries said.

Georgian officials said Russian planes bombed an area near the Georgian capital's airport and Russian tanks moved from South Ossetia into Georgian territory, heading toward a strategic city before being turned back.

A Russian general said Georgian forces directed heavy fire at positions around Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, early today, even though Georgia had claimed to be withdrawing from the shattered city and called for a cease-fire.

"Active fighting has been going on in several zones," the Interfax news agency quoted Maj. Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov as saying. He is commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent that has been in South Ossetia since 1992.

Russia also claimed to have sunk a Georgian boat that tried to attack Russian vessels in the Black Sea.

Russia appears determined to subdue diminutive, U.S.-backed Georgia despite international condemnation. Russia ignored a wave of calls to observe Georgia's cease-fire, saying it must first be assured that Georgian troops had indeed pulled back from South Ossetia.

International envoys were trying to end the conflict before it spreads throughout the Caucasus, a region plagued by ethnic tensions. But it was unclear what inducements or pressure the envoys could bring to bear, or to what extent either side was truly sensitive to world opinion.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said one of the Russian raids on the airport area came a half hour before the arrival of the foreign ministers of France and Finland.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Temur Yako-bashvili said Russian tanks tried to cross from South Ossetia into the territory of Georgia proper, but were turned back by Georgian forces. He said the tanks apparently were trying to approach Gori, but did not fire on the city of about 50,000, which sits on Georgia's only significant east-west highway.

An Associated Press photographer in Gori said early today that the city appeared quiet.

Russia also sent naval vessels to patrol off Georgia's Black Sea coast, but denied Sunday that the move was aimed at establishing a blockade.

The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman as saying that Georgian missile boats twice tried to attack Russian ships, which fired back and sank one of the Georgian vessels.

South Ossetia broke away from Georgian control in 1992. Russia granted passports to most of its residents and the region's separatist leaders sought to absorb the region into Russia.

Georgia, whose troops have been trained by American soldiers, began an offensive to regain control over South Ossetia overnight Friday, launching heavy rocket and artillery fire and air strikes that pounded the regional capital Tskhinvali. Georgia says it was responding to attacks by separatists.

In response, Russia launched massive artillery shelling and air attacks on Georgian troops.

Comments

Brent Garner 6 years, 1 month ago

And so it begins. Again it is the mid 1930s. Tyrants run roughshod over small countries while the major powers simply protest and wring their hands. And where will it end? The last time was with a devastating world war when Germany and Japan finally went just a little too far. As for the good Col Gardiner, it would appear his analysis is wrong. Russian troops have captured Gori which is much beyond S. Ossetia. This has nothing to do, in reality, with S. Ossetia. This is about recreating the Soviet Empire. Even if it means war, we should not allow this. Even if we have to call up all the reserves and re-institute the draft and rebuild our neglected military, we should not allow this. Will Iran take us seriously regarding their nuclear weapons program after this? Doubtful. Will China even worry about the US when it comes to Taiwan? Doubtful. If we allow this, the end has come!

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JHOK32 6 years, 1 month ago

Well now isn't this interesting......Georgia is a democratically elected sovereign state. Will Bush put his money where his rhetorical mouth is? Will we now invade Georgia to save our freedom? Come on George, isn't that what you sold (some of) us on about invading Iraq? You know, defeat evil and all that jazz? Oh, but I keep forgetting, does Georgia have any oil? Come on "Restore Reason" how about putting your typical right wing spin on this one?

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Brent Garner 6 years, 1 month ago

Mkh: A small note. South Ossetia is shown as part of Georgia. I fail to see how it is unreasonable for Georgia to want to retain control of the seccessionist S. Ossetia. It is also a fact that Russia, under the Soviet Union, imported lots of Russians into various areas in order to make it difficult if not impossible for those areas to avoid Russian control, meaning Moscow. Additionally, under the false front of peacekeepers, Russia has been illegally granting S. Ossetians Russian citizenship. It would be similar to Mexico granting Mexicans living in Arizona Mexican citizenship in an effort to tear Arizona away from the US and hand it over to Mexico. Finally, as I have stated before, the Russian response was too fast and too well organized. Is it just possible that during that last round of talks between S. Ossetia and Georgia that the S. Ossetia delegation, knowing they had the approval of Mother Russia, did or said something to provoke Georgia? One has to wonder.

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Brent Garner 6 years, 1 month ago

The New York Times has a history of publishing traitorous material. It alone is not a sufficient source. Additionally, if this were true, why didn't the Russians bring it to the UN as did the Europeans over the Balkan problems. That would have given the issue great publicity. No, judging by the swiftness of this action and the obvious well planned strategy and tactics this was a set up. A set up prepared well in advance and waiting for an opportune moment to be sprung. This is the same as Mussilini promising the Italians a restored Romam Empire. If you think Georgia is the last stop, you are wrong. Very wrong.

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Mkh 6 years, 1 month ago

Georgia invaded this Russian province with troops trained and supplied by Israel and US special forces, they killed innocent civilians and provoked Mother Russia....not exactly a smooth move. This disputed region just so happens to be a key throughway of a critcal oil pipeline, this operation was carefully planned and executed to happen at the same moment as the Olympic opening cermomies to avoid wide media coverage. Now Bush and the media are spinning the story against Russia, preparing public opinion in case direct US intervention is necessary. Putin saw the blitz coming and has responded in a decisive manner. This incident has the dangerous potential to cause a serious conflict.

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