International

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Musa Sadulayev/AP
A column of Russian tanks rolls near the town of Dzhava in the separatist Georgian province
of South Ossetia, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008. (AP)

Russia Intensifies Fighting Against Georgia

August 11, 2008 11:03 AM
by Josh Katz
The military conflict in Georgia is escalating, as Russia continues to push back the Georgian troops and threatens to open up a second front in Abkhazia.

30-Second Summary

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Russia is now in control of most of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, days after it first clashed with Georgian troops on Friday. But many fear that Russia will continue to pursue targets in Georgia proper and possibly attack Georgian forces in the other separatist region, Abkhazia, to the west of South Ossetia.

As fighting continues in South Ossetia, Russia has also bombed the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and launched airstrikes on the Georgian military and transportation center of Gori, where Russian troops are amassing.

Georgia has sent a cease-fire agreement to Moscow, but Russia has said it would only sign if Georgia retreats from South Ossetia and pledges not to commit military action against the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been working on a Security Council resolution to condemn Russia.

Death toll accounts have differed, ranging “from the low hundreds to more than 2,000,” according to The New York Times. “Russian officials say more than 30,000 South Ossetians have fled into Russia.”

After an extended period of threats, the violence began in earnest Thursday night, when Georgia responded to opposition in South Ossetia by launching a military offensive to assert control over the region. Russia says it sent in its military to defend Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia after several died in the Georgian offensive.

Moscow’s feud with Georgia has also strained its relations with the United States. Although Washington has backed Georgia’s bid to join NATO, Russia’s opposition has pressured other members of the organization into denying Georgian membership.

The conflict stems from the separatist unrest Georgia faced in Abkhazia and South Ossetia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993, Georgian troops were forced out of the region, and Russia has tacitly supported Georgian opposition movements ever since.

Headline Link: ‘Georgia “under attack” as Russian tanks roll in’

Background: Tensions between Georgia and Russia mount in April

Opinion & Analysis: How serious is the conflict?

Related Topics: Russia upset over U.S. missile defense plans; the ‘color revolutions’

Reference: Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia

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