Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says a convoy of Russian tanks
pushing deeper into Georgia towards the second largest city, Kutaisi,
Mr. Saakashvili gave no details on the Russian tank
movement. But he told CNN television Thursday that Russia currently
occupies one-third of his country.
He said the presence of
Russian irregulars, armed men who are not full-time soldiers, is
extremely worrying. He accuses them of looting and killing in ethnic
Georgian villages in South Ossetia.
Earlier, Russian tanks
took up positions outside the strategic city of Gori after a stand-off
with Georgian authorities who were trying to re-enter the abandoned
town. The Georgians had refused to endorse a proposal for South
Ossetian police to patrol Gori. It was not immediately clear if the
stand-off has ended, but no shooting has been reported.
witnesses say Russian troops entered the undefended Black Sea port of
Poti and took computers and other equipment from port facilities. U.S.
officials have accused Russia of disabling Georgian military
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said
large parts of South Ossetia and the Gori region are inaccessible to
humanitarian aid workers because of lawlessness. He said civilians are
bearing the brunt of the violence in Georgia. He reminded both Russians
and Georgians that international law obligates them to protect
civilians. Mr. Ban said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees plans
to visit both Georgia and Moscow.
Georgian forces say they
launched an offensive against separatists in South Ossetia last week
after coming under Russian fire. Russia says it acted to protect its
citizens in Ossetia. It sent in about 10,000 troops, and hundreds of
tanks and armored vehicles into Georgian territory.
breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared independence from
Georgia in the early 1990s, but have failed to gain international
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.