South Ossetians retake capital

South Ossetian separatists say they are in complete control of the capital Tskhinvali more than 24 hours into a major Georgian military offensive.

The statement was made by South Ossetian spokeswoman, Irina Gagloyeva on Friday, the Interfax news agency reported.

"The entire city of Tskhinvali is currently controlled by units of South Ossetia's defense forces....The Georgian side is trying to regain control of southern suburbs of Tskhinvali", Gagloyeva said.

On Friday, Georgian authorities and South Ossetian rebels gave conflicting claims of full control of the capital amid the heavy Georgian bombardment which has so far killed at least 10 Russian peacekeepers.

The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is in Beijing for the start of the Olympic Games blamed Georgia. "They have in effect begun hostilities using tanks and artillery. It is sad, but this will provoke retaliatory measures."

"We cannot allow the deaths of our countrymen to go unpunished. The guilty parties will receive the punishment they deserve," Russia President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier as Russian tanks and troops moved into South Ossetia to drive back the Georgian offensive.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has also ordered humanitarian aid be given to South Ossetians affected by the conflict.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed the finger of blame at the West for giving Georgia military aid.

"Now we see Georgia has found a use for these weapons and for the Special Forces that were trained with the help of international Instructors..." he said.

[Source: Press TV, Iran, 08Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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