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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » August 13, 2008
International relations
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War in the Caucasus
August 13, 2008   
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War has broken out between Russia and Georgia after weeks of tension over the status of the rebellious Georgian province of South Ossetia, governed by pro-Russian authorities.

Citing the need to protect its citizens, Russia-which has followed a policy of granting Russian citizenship to Ossetians en masse-deployed thousands of soldiers to the province and on the night of Aug. 7/8 seized the capital Tskhinvali from the Georgians. Georgia withdrew its forces from most of the province. The Russians have declared they are in control of the entire province. Russian aircraft carried out bombing raids on targets close to the Georgian capital Tbilisi and the cities of Gori and Poti, causing extensive civilian casualties.

"The existence of Georgia is endangered. I appeal for U.S. diplomatic intervention," said Georgia's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili Aug. 10. "This is real war. Let no one be in any doubt about that," he said.

The West is trying to intervene using diplomatic means. The Americans were among the first to declare that Georgian territory was inviolable. The European Union has demanded an immediate halt to the fighting. On Aug. 9 the presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia issued a joint declaration condemning "the actions of the Russian armed forces against sovereign and independent Georgia."

France, the current president of the EU, has launched a diplomatic mission in Tbilisi and Moscow.

Early on Aug. 11 the first group of Polish evacuees from Georgia landed at Warsaw airport.
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