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08-08-2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default uhh i sense all out warfare

I usually dont pay attention to most of this stuff.. but when i went to yahoo i saw this
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DZHAVA, Georgia - Russia dispatched an armored column into the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, launched a surprise offensive to crush separatists. Witnesses said hundreds of civilians were killed.
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The fighting, which devastated the capital of Tskhinvali, threatened to ignite a wider war between Georgia and Russia, and escalate tensions between Moscow and Washington. Georgia said it was forced to launch the assault because of rebel attacks; the separatists alleged Georgia violated a cease-fire.

"I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars," said Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, who had fled with her family to Dzhava, a village near the border with Russia. "It's impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged."

The fighting broke out as much of the world's attention was focused on the start of the Olympic Games and many leaders, including Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Bush, were in Beijing.

The timing suggested Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili may have been counting on surprise to fulfill his longtime pledge to wrest back control of South Ossetia a key to his hold on power. The rebels seek to unite with North Ossetia, which is part of Russia.

Saakashvili agreed the timing was not coincidental, but accused Russia of being the aggressor. "Most decision makers have gone for the holidays," he told CNN. "Brilliant moment to attack a small country."

Diplomats issued a flurry of statements calling on both sides to halt the fighting and called for another emergency session of the United Nations Security Council, its second since early Friday morning seeking to prevent an all-out war.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Russia to halt aircraft and missile attacks and withdraw combat forces from Georgian territory. Rice said in a statement the United States wants Russia to respect Georgian sovereignty and agree to international mediation.

The leader of South Ossetia's rebel government, Eduard Kokoity, said about 1,400 people were killed in the onslaught, the Interfax news agency reported. The toll could not be independently confirmed.

As night fell, there were conflicting claims as to who held the battlefield advantage.

Saakashvili said "Georgian military forces completely control all the territory of South Ossetia" except for a northern section adjacent to Russia. But Russian news agencies cited a Russian military official as saying heavy fighting was under way on the outskirts of the regional capital.

It was unclear what might persuade either side to stop shooting. Both claim the battle started after the other side violated a cease-fire that had been declared just hours earlier after a week of sporadic clashes.

The United States was sending in its top Caucasus envoy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, to try to end the bloodshed.

It was the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won de facto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992. Russian troops went in as peacekeepers but Georgia alleges they now back the separatists.

Russia, which has granted citizenship to most of the region's residents, appeared to lay much of the responsibility for ending the fighting on Washington.

In a telephone conversation with Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Georgia must be convinced to withdraw its forces, according to a ministry statement.

Georgia, which borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia, was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the breakup of the Soviet Union. Georgia has angered Russia by seeking NATO membership a bid Moscow regards as part of a Western effort to weaken its influence in the region.

Saakashvili long has pledged to restore Tbilisi's rule over South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia. Both regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and have built up ties with Moscow.

Georgia has about 2,000 troops in Iraq, making it the third-largest contributor to coalition forces after the U.S. and Britain. But Saakashvili told CNN the troops would be called home Saturday in the face of the South Ossetia fighting.

A senior U.S. defense official said Georgian authorities have asked the United States for help getting their troops out of Iraq. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions have been private, said no formal decision has been made on whether to support the departure, but said it is likely the U.S. will do so.

Also, Pentagon officials said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has reached out to his counterparts in Russia and Georgia, but has not yet connected with them.

Georgia's Foreign Ministry accused Russian aircraft of bombing two military air bases inside Georgia, inflicting some casualties and destroying several military aircraft. Rustavi 2 television said four people were killed and five wounded at the Marneuli air base.

Twelve Russian troops were killed and 30 wounded in the fighting, said Russian Ground Forces spokesman Col. Igor Konashenkov.

Russia's Defense Ministry said it was sending in reinforcements for its troops in the province, and Russian state television and Georgian officials reported a convoy of tanks had crossed the border. The convoy was expected to reach the provincial capital, Tskhinvali, by evening, Channel One television said.

"We are facing Russian aggression," said Georgia's Security Council chief Kakha Lomaya. "They have sent in their troops and weapons and they are bombing our towns."

Putin warned in the early stages of the conflict that the Georgian attack would draw retaliation and the Defense Ministry pledged to protect South Ossetians, most of whom have Russian citizenship.

Chairing a session of his Security Council in the Kremlin, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also vowed that Moscow will protect Russian citizens.

"In accordance with the constitution and federal law, I, as president of Russia, am obliged to protect lives and dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are located," Medvedev said. "We won't allow the death of our compatriots go unpunished."

On Friday, an AP reporter saw tanks and other heavy weapons concentrating on the Russian side of the border with South Ossetia supporting the reports of an incursion. Some villagers were fleeing into Russia.

The Georgian state minister for reintegration, Temur Yakobashvili, said Georgian forces had shot down four Russian combat planes over Georgian territory but gave no details. Russia's Defense Ministry denied an earlier Georgia report about one Russian plane downed and had no immediate comment on the latest claim.

Yakobashvili said one Russian plane had dropped a bomb on the Vaziani military base near the Georgian capital, but no one was hurt. More than 1,000 U.S. Marines and soldiers were at the base last month to teach combat skills to Georgian troops.

South Ossetia officials said Georgia attacked with aircraft, armor and heavy artillery. Georgian troops fired missiles at Tskhinvali, an official said, and many buildings were on fire.

Georgia's president said Russian aircraft bombed several Georgian villages and other civilian facilities.

A senior Russian diplomat in charge of the South Ossetian conflict, Yuri Popov, dismissed the Georgian claims of Russian bombings as misinformation, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported.

The Georgian attack came just hours after Saakashvili announced a unilateral cease-fire in a television broadcast late Thursday in which he also urged South Ossetian separatist leaders to enter talks on resolving the conflict.

Georgian officials later blamed South Ossetian separatists for thwarting the cease-fire by shelling Georgian villages in the area.

___

Associated Press writers Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili in Tbilisi, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and John Heilprin at the United Nations contributed to this report.
This isn't looking good...
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08-08-2008   #2 (permalink)
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It's like 1984. Each super power will need to establish persistent invisible enemies before abolishing human rights.
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08-08-2008   #3 (permalink)
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Finally something interesting. Though I must admit my money was on the Chechens starting something big.
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08-08-2008   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not concerned. What's going on is between Russia and Georgia. If anything we Americans we be nice and send in reinforcements that will help Russia/Georgia.

Russia and the USA are friends. I doubt we need to be concerned yet.
(And to my knowledge, Georgia is not a Nuclear Power.)
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08-08-2008   #5 (permalink)
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Russia and the U.S. are far from being friends yet. Most of the people in the government in Russia are former Communist officials. Heck, Putin himself was a KGB officer.

But yeah, that's a regional conflict in the physical sense. But Georgia and Russia both produce energy, so we may get dragged in soon enough >__>
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08-08-2008   #6 (permalink)
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I just saw this in the newspaper I think.
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08-10-2008   #7 (permalink)
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Few years back, Russia also tried to take Ukraine's oil supplies.
Well, it was safe to assume that something large was going to happen during the Beijing Olympics. Heck, i wouldn't be surprised if China and Russia did this as a joint-venture by planning this together, since both were and still are strong allies.


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08-10-2008   #8 (permalink)
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Even if Russia and China are good friends, I doubt China has anything to gain from Russia gaining South Ossentia.

But yeah, some people are still going WTF today because they olympics covered most of the news.
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08-10-2008   #9 (permalink)
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Russia and China don't have a prominent relationship, that's just an ridiculous accusation.

The only reason why Russian-U.S. aren't well is because our head Republican representatives openly talk about being unable to trust Russia and act like the conservative douchebags they are.
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08-11-2008   #10 (permalink)
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Okay so the war still continues and Russia attacks not only South Ossentia, but blockades the city, invade north western Georgia, and now they want to occupy it.
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08-11-2008   #11 (permalink)
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wait isnt georgia a state? im confused
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08-11-2008   #12 (permalink)
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Georgia is also a Country in Aria, borders the black sea to the west and is north of Turkey.

UPDATE:
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ZUGDIDI, Georgia - Russian tanks roared deep into Georgia on Monday, launching a new western front in the conflict, and Russian planes staged air raids that sent people screaming and fleeing for cover in some towns.
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The escalating warfare brought sharp words from President Bush, who pressed Moscow to accept an immediate cease-fire and pull its troops out to avert a "dramatic and brutal escalation" of violence in the former Soviet republic.

Russian forces for the first time moved well outside the two restive, pro-Russian provinces claimed by Georgia that lie at the heart of the dispute. An Associated Press reporter saw Russian troops in control of government buildings in this town just miles from the frontier and Russian troops were reported in nearby Senaki.

Georgia's president said his country had been sliced in half with the capture of a critical highway crossroads near the central city of Gori, and Russian warplanes launched new air raids across the country.

The Russian Defense Ministry, through news agencies, denied it had captured Gori and also denied any intentions to advance on the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

The western assault expanded the days-old war beyond the central breakaway region of South Ossetia, where a crackdown by Georgia last week drew a military response from Russia.

While most Georgian forces were still busy fighting there, Russian troops opened the western attack by invading from a second separatist province, Abkhazia, that occupies Georgia's coastal northwest arm.

Russian forces moved into Senaki, 20 miles inland from the Black Sea, and seized police stations in Zugdidi, just outside the southern fringe of Abkhazia. Abkhazian allies took control of the nearby village of Kurga, according to witnesses and Georgian officials.

U.N. officials B. Lynn Pascoe and Edmond Mulet in New York, speaking at an emergency Security Council meeting asked for by Georgia, also confirmed that Russian troops have driven well beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia, U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity because it was a closed session. They said Russian airborne troops were not meeting any resistance while taking control of Georgia's Senaki army base.

"A full military invasion of Georgia is going on," Georgian Ambassador Irakli Alasania told reporters later. "Now I think Security Council has to act."

The Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, told CNN late Monday that Russian forces were cleansing Abkhazia of ethnic Georgians.

"I directly accuse Russia of ethnic cleansing," he said. At the U.N. on Friday, each side accused the other of ethnic cleansing.

By late Monday, Russian news agencies, citing the Defense Ministry, said troops had left Senaki "after liquidating the danger," but did not give details.

The new assault came despite a claim earlier in the day by a top Russian general that Russia had no plans to enter undisputed Georgian territory.

Saakashvili earlier told a national security meeting Russia had also taken central Gori, which its on Georgia's only east-west highway, cutting off the eastern half of the nation from the western Black Sea coast.

But the news agency Interfax cited a Russian Defense Ministry official as denying Gori was captured. Attempts to reach Gori residents by telephone late Monday did not go through.

Fighting also raged Monday around Tskhinvali, the capital of the separatist province of South Ossetia.

Even as Saakashvili signed a cease-fire pledge Monday with European mediators, Russia flexed its military muscle and appeared determined to subdue the small U.S. ally, which has been pressing for NATO membership.

"The bombs that are falling on us, they have an inscription on them: This is for NATO. This is for the U.S.," Saakashvili told CNN.

Russia's massive and multi-pronged offensive has drawn wide criticism from the West, but Russia has rejected calls for a cease-fire and said it was acted to protect its citizens. Most residents of the separatist regions have Russian passports.

In Zugdidi, an AP reporter saw five or six Russian soldiers posted outside an Interior Ministry building. Several tanks and other armored vehicles were moving through the town but the streets were nearly deserted. Shops, restaurants and banks were shut down.

In the city of Gori, an AP reporter heard artillery fire and Georgian soldiers warned locals to get out because Russian tanks were approaching. Hundreds of terrified residents fled toward Tbilisi, many trying to flag down passing cars.

An AP film crew saw Georgian tanks and military vehicles speeding along the road from Gori to Tbilisi. Firing began and people ran for cover. Cars could be seen in flames along the side of the road.

Georgia borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia and was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Both provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990, and both have close ties with Moscow.

When Georgia began its offensive to regain control over South Ossetia, the Russian response was swift and overpowering — thousands of troops and tanks poured in.

Georgia had pledged a cease-fire, but it rang hollow Monday. An AP reporter saw a small group of Georgian fighters open fire on a column of Russian and Ossetian military vehicles outside Tskhinvali, triggering a 30-minute battle. The Russians later said all the Georgians were killed.

Another AP reporter was in the village of Tkviavi, 7 1/2 miles south of Tskhinvali inside undisputed Georgian territory, when a bomb from a Russian warplane struck a house. The walls of neighboring buildings fell as screaming residents ran for cover. Eighteen people were wounded.

Hundreds of Georgian troops headed north Monday along the road toward Tskhinvali, pocked with tank regiments creeping up the highway into South Ossetia. Hundreds of other soldiers traveled in trucks in the opposite direction, towing light artillery weapons.

In a statement in the Rose Garden, Bush said there was an apparent attempt by Russia to unseat the pro-Western Saakashvili. He said further Russian action would conflict with Russian assurance its actions were meant to restore peace in the pro-Russian separatist areas.

Bush and other Western leaders have also complained that Russian warplanes — buzzing over Georgia since Friday — have bombed Georgian oil sites and factories far from the conflict zone.

The world's seven largest economic powers urged Russia to accept an immediate cease-fire agree to international mediation. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her colleagues from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations spoke by telephone and pledged their support for a negotiated solution to the conflict.

"I've expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn the bombing outside of South Ossetia," Bush told NBC Sports.

Putin criticized the United States for viewing Georgia as the victim instead of the aggressor, and for airlifting Georgian troops back home from Iraq on Sunday.

"Of course, Saddam Hussein ought to have been hanged for destroying several Shiite villages," Putin said in Moscow. "And the incumbent Georgian leaders who razed ten Ossetian villages at once, who ran elderly people and children with tanks, who burned civilian alive in their sheds — these leaders must be taken under protection."

The U.S. military was informing Russia about the flights from Iraq to avoid mishaps, one military official said Monday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the subject on the record.

A Defense Department spokesman said the U.S. expected to have all Georgian troops out of Iraq by day's end.

Pentagon officials said Monday that U.S. military was assessing the fighting every day to determine whether to pull the fewer than 100 remaining American trainers out of the country.

Saakashvili's cease-fire pledge had been proposed by the French and Finnish foreign ministers. The EU envoys headed to Moscow to try to persuade Russia to accept it.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he will meet Tuesday in Moscow with President Dmitri Medvedev and then travel to Tbilisi for a meeting with Saakashvili.

Saakashvili voiced concern Russia's true goal was to undermine his pro-Western government. "It's all about the independence and democracy of Georgia," he said.

The Georgian president said Russia had sent 20,000 troops and 500 tanks into Georgia. He said Russian warplanes were bombing roads and bridges, destroying radar systems and targeting Tbilisi's civilian airport. One Russian bombing raid struck the Tbilisi airport area only a half-hour before EU envoys arrived, he said.

Another hit near key Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which carries Caspian crude to the West. No supply interruptions have been reported.

At least 9,000 Russian troops and 350 armored vehicles were in Abkhazia, according to a Russian military commander.

Abkhazia's separatists declared Sunday they would push Georgian forces out of the northern part of the Kodori Gorge, the only area of Abkhazia still under Georgian control.

Before invading western Georgia, Russia's deputy chief of General Staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn demanded Monday that Georgia disarm its police in Zugdidi, a town just outside Abkhazia. Still he insisted "We are not planning any offensive."

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said more than 2,000 people have been killed in South Ossetia since Friday, most of them Ossetians with Russian passports. The figures could not be independently confirmed, but refugees who fled Tskhinvali over the weekend said hundreds had been killed.

Many found shelter in the Russian province of North Ossetia.

"The Georgians burned all of our homes," said one elderly woman, as she sat on a bench under a tree with three other white-haired survivors. "The Georgians say it is their land. Where is our land, then?"
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