Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Russia advancing into Georgia

Russia's military leaders, apparently secure in their belief that no other country will come to the aid of Georgia, and that Russia therefore has a free hand to do as it wants there, have changed their strategy: while yesterday General Nogovitsyn announced that Russian forces would not move into Georgian territory beyond the so-called "security zone", a Russian defence ministry spokesman later talked of "measures" being taken to prevent Georgian troops "regrouping" - among other things, this involved a movement of Russian forces 40 kilometres from the Abkhaz frontier to the Georgian town of Senaki.

AP now reports that

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."

France also circulated a draft resolution calling for the "cessation of hostilities, and the complete withdrawal of Russian and Georgian forces" to prior positions. The council is expected to take up the draft proposal Tuesday.

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

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