Putin: Russia will strike Georgia back
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated during his speech in Beijing that Russia would respond to Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia.
“Tbilisi [Georgia’s capital] takes very aggressive steps against South Ossetia. This is very sad and very concerning. It will obviously lead to Russia’s actions in return. It is very sad that the military actions have already touched upon Russian peacemakers. We cannot leave these events out of our attention,” Putin said.
Russia has already suffered its losses in the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia. A Georgian shell hit the headquarters of Russian peacemakers. Several Russian servicemen were killed, several others were wounded, news agencies report. The exact number of victims is not known yet, RBC reports.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev conducted an urgent meeting in connection with the situation in South Ossetia. The president has been fully informed about the military actions in South Ossetia and will continue to receive updated information. Medvedev discusses a complex of urgent measures to solve the situation in South Ossetia, defend Russia’s national interests and protect both local and Russian population of the unrecognized republic.
The situation, which is currently unfolding in South Ossetia, shows that the Georgian army follows a meticulously developed plan. However, it was not Georgia, but the Pentagon that schemed out the operation to conquer the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia 13 years ago. The Pentagon originally tested its plan on the Republic of Serbian Krajina which existed on Croatia’s territory from 1991 to 1995. Thousands of civilians were killed and numerous ethnic cleansings were held as a result of those operations. The Russian citizens residing on the territory of South Ossetia may face the same fate in the event Moscow does not interfere in the conflict.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili announced the nation-wide mobilization of reservists. Thousands of reservists have been mobilized, he said.
The Georgian troops have “liberated” the biggest part of South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, Saakashvili said. In addition, Mr. Saakashvili accused Russia of unleashing a large-scale military operation against Georgia.
Georgian troops launched a major military offensive Friday to regain control over the breakaway province of South Ossetia and the president accused Russia, which has close ties to the separatists, of bombing Georgian territory.
A Russian official denied Georgia's accusation of aggression and Russian Premier Vladimir Putin said the attack on South Ossetia will draw retaliation, the AP says.
Officials in South Ossetia said 15 civilians had been killed in fighting overnight. Georgian officials said seven civilians were wounded in bombing raids by Russia.
The fighting in South Ossetia had raised fears of an all-out war that could draw in Russia, which has peacekeepers in the region.
South Ossetia officials said Georgia attacked with aircraft, armor and heavy artillery. Georgian troops fired missiles at the regional capital, Tskhinvali, an official said, and many buildings were on fire.