Source AP ©

Georgia to observe 3-hour ceasefire to let civilians flee

Georgia says it will observe a 3-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to leave South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili says Georgian troops will observe the ceasefire beginning at 3 p.m. local time (1100 GMT).

Georgia launched a massive attack Friday to regain control of South Ossetia, using heavy artillery, aircraft and armor. South Ossetian officials said at least 15 people were killed Friday and an unspecified number were wounded.

In the meantime, the European Union has called for an immediate end to fighting in South Ossetia.

The EU's executive Commission said it was extremely concerned at reports of heavy fighting after Georgia launched a major military offensive in the breakaway province.

It called for the Georgian government and separatists to return to existing negotiations.

The EU said Friday it was ready to step up its efforts to resolve the conflict.

The NATO military alliance has also called on both sides to stop fighting and restart talks.