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TSKHINVALI, 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.
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The fighting was the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won de-facto independence in a war that ended in 1992 — raising fears that war could once again erupt and draw in Russia, which has peacekeepers in the region.

A Russian official denied bombing Georgia, but Russian state television said Russian troops were moving into South Ossetia and showed a convoy of tanks that it said had already crossed the border. The convoy was expected to reach the provincial capital, Tskhinvali, by evening, Channel One television said.

There was no immediate comment from Georgian officials.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned that the Georgian attack will draw retaliation and the Defense Ministry pledged to protect South Ossetians, most of whom have Russian citizenship.

An Associated Press reporter saw tanks and other heavy weapons concentrating on the Russian side of the border with South Ossetia. Some villagers were fleeing into Russia.

"I saw them (the Georgians) shelling my village," said Maria, who gave only her first name. She said she and other villagers spent the night in a field and then fled toward the Russian border as the fighting escalated.

Separatist 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.

Putin — in Beijing to attend the Olympic opening ceremony — said an unspecified number of the peacekeepers have been wounded.

Georgia has declared a three-hour cease-fire to allow civilians to leave Tskhinvali. Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said troops were observing the cease-fire, which began at 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. EDT).

A spokesman for President Bush said Russia and Georgia should cease hostilities and hold talks to end the conflict. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he is seriously concerned about the fighting and that the alliance is closely following the situation.

Georgia, which borders the Black Sea between Turkey and Russia, was ruled by Moscow for most of the two centuries preceding the breakup of the Soviet Union. The country has angered Russia by seeking NATO membership — a bid Moscow regards as part of a Western effort to weaken its influence in the region.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili long has pledged to restore Tbilisi's rule over South Ossetia and another breakaway province, Abkhazia. Both regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since splitting from Georgia in the early 1990s and built up ties with Moscow.



:shock:
 

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Russia

Scanning the news now, not going to believe anything comming out of the Russians mouth though.

Edit: I am watching it now on CNN. Fox, FOX is too busy with FOX n Friends forcing me to watch CNN. I mean this it pretty BIG WTF?
 

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Hard to take a side in this issue as both countries are run by crooked thugs and a quasi dictatorship.
 

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Looks like those new M4's might be getting a workout soon.

The US backs the Georgians and the USMC has been training their military for years, and I believe we have a semi-permanent base there.
 

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This could get interesting in a hurry.

Hope they take a break and talk, though I don't see it happening.
 

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Edit: I am watching it now on CNN. Fox, FOX is too busy with FOX n Friends forcing me to watch CNN. I mean this it pretty BIG WTF?
Fox and Friends is a terrible waste of everyone's morning. Having to choose between the FNC (fascist news channel) and CNN (communist news network) is a terrible predicament indeed.

I really miss working at NSA and reading the daily TS/SCI world briefs. Nothing beats getting the news from having TS/NOFORN access!

I hope the Georgian-NATO plan makes out ok.
 

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5thShock said:
If Georgia was a NATO member we would now be at war with Russia.
An attack on one member is an attack on all.
you do know that Georgia started the war by attacking Ossetia?
 

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I hope the Georgian-NATO plan makes out ok.
-This was a joke btw. Them being part of NATO is a serious liability to say the least.
 

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news

It's to bad they don't show the news from moscow any more I forget what channel it was on but i used to watch it during the first georgian conflict & on checneya, it showed a lot of good footage
 

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After the Kosovo issues, the EU and Nato have no room to talk.

If any level of Ethnic cleansing (in any form) is truly taking part as reported then Russias Actions are justified in my opinion.

Best wishes to the civilians in this area. Hopefully a bloody nose will settle the issues at hand for good.
 

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5thShock said:
If Georgia was a NATO member we would now be at war with Russia.
An attack on one member is an attack on all.
Not necessarily.

Remember back in the day when Argentina attacked the British in the Falklans? NATO wouldn't respond because this accurred below a particular parallel. Don't recall the specifics.
 

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Baker47 said:
5thShock said:
If Georgia was a NATO member we would now be at war with Russia.
An attack on one member is an attack on all.
Not necessarily.

Remember back in the day when Argentina attacked the British in the Falklans? NATO wouldn't respond because this accurred below a particular parallel. Don't recall the specifics.
in other words nato found a way to do nothing
 

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Re: Russia

jdub said:
Scanning the news now, not going to believe anything comming out of the Russians mouth though.

Edit: I am watching it now on CNN. Fox, FOX is too busy with FOX n Friends forcing me to watch CNN. I mean this it pretty BIG WTF?
Fox will only show it if Paris Hilton or Brittany go there to inspire the troops and one of them ends up dead...
 

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georgins shoot down....

Just saw the news that the georgian militay shot down 2 russian fighter-bombers , looks like it's going to heat up again
 

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Georgians better get some AA going on fast, one of their air bases was just bombed....
 
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