North Ossetia evacuates children from South Ossetia

North Ossetia’s Emergencies Ministry is evacuating a large group of children from South Ossetia.

"Fifteen buses with children and accompanying adults – all in all about 800 people – will arrive at the border-crossing point Nizhny Zaramag shortly from Dzhava where they were taken by peacekeepers," North Ossetian Emergencies Ministry aide Vladimir Ivanov said on Monday.

He said North Ossetia cannot accommodate more people at the moment and can only receive children from South Ossetia who have relatives in the Russian republic.

South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity is negotiating for the accommodation of children in other regions of Russia’s Southern Federal District.

About 1,500 women and children have been evacuated from South Ossetia over the past three days.

According to the South Ossetian government, up to 200,000 people may want to leave the republic during the current crisis with Georgia.

North Ossetian leader Taimuraz Mamsurov said earlier his republic is determined to join forces with South Ossetia in order to repel Georgia’s aggression.

"North Ossetia is closely watching the situation and is ready to come to its southern brothers’ rescue. We are abhorred by the actions of the Georgian political leadership that has unleashed a real war against Ossetians and we are determined to repel the aggression together," he said.

Mamsurov expressed condolences to the families of those killed and stressed, "the north of Ossetia will not stay indifferent to the fate of its brethren".

The attack on Tskhinvali from Georgia continued throughout the night and stopped only in the morning. As a result, six people, including a Russian peacekeeper, were killed and 12 were wounded.

Kokoity said South Ossetia might declare full mobilisation and recruit volunteers across the North Caucasus.

South Ossetia "has long and persistently tried to avoid hostilities and continue negotiations, but Georgia leaves us no choice".

"South Ossetia tried not to draw the peoples of the North Caucasus, which are always ready to help us in a brotherly way, into its problems. But today the situation is such that it is hard to us to hold back the flow of North Caucasus volunteers. We, too, find it hard to control ourselves. If tensions escalate, we will be prepared to declare full mobilisation in South Ossetia and recruit volunteers across the North Caucasus," Kokoity said.

[Source: Russian Information Agency Novosti, Vladikavkaz, Rus, 04Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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