GeriGündem Russia takes control in South Ossetia, Georgia halts military action
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Russia takes control in South Ossetia, Georgia halts military action

Georgia's Foreign Ministry on Sunday handed to Russia's embassy in Tbilisi notification that its armed forces were ceasing military actions from August 10, Reuters reported citing Interfax news agency. Russian troops took most of the capital of the Georgian region of South Ossetia on Sunday after a three-day battle but the United States condemned Moscow's "dangerous and disproportionate" action. (UPDATED)

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Russia confirms Georgia says it is ready “to immediately start negotiations” on a ceasefire and to end hostilities in a note handed to Russia's embassy in Tbilisi on Sunday, Reuters reported.


Interfax quoted a Georgian Foreign ministry statement as saying that "all Georgian armed forces have been withdrawn from the zone of conflict", Reuters reported.


Russia "has started an operation" to storm Georgia-controlled Kodori Gorge in the breakaway Abkhazia, the Georgian Interior Ministry also said according to Reuters.


Authorities in Abkhazia said earlier they had sent 1,000 troops to the gorge, which Georgian forces control as a strategic foothold in the breakaway Black Sea territory.

Georgia says Russia has sent troops and artillery into Abkhazia.

"They have started the operation to storm Kodori gorge," Reuters quoted Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili as saying. Asked who was behind the operation, he replied: "The Russian army."

The United Nations, which has international monitors in the area, had warned of a possible second front opening in the Georgia-Russia conflict, with Russia already pushing Georgian forces from breakaway South Ossetia.

Georgia has police stationed in the gorge, protecting a parallel pro-Tbilisi Abkhazian government.

"The operation has started," Reuters quoted government spokesman Raul Kiria as saying. "The evacuation of residents is under way. Our government officials are at their posts."

Like South Ossetia, Abkhazia broke away for Georgian control in the early 1990s.


Russian officials said they had taken control on Sunday of most of Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, which has been devastated by intense fighting.


Russia poured troops and tanks across its southern border into Georgia and bombed Georgian targets after Tbilisi attempted on Thursday evening to retake South Ossetia.

"As of today most of the city (Tskhinvali) is controlled by Russian peacekeeping forces," Colonel-General Anatoly Nagovitsyn of the Russian General Staff, told an official briefing in Moscow.

Georgia confirmed it was pulling back its forces from the town. The secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, Kakha Lomaia, told reporters "military commanders have made their decision to pull back from Tskhinvali this morning".

A Georgian convoy of troops and artillery left South Ossetia through Ergneti, a village just inside Georgian-held territory south of Tskhinvali, but Lomaia said Georgian forces were still fighting inside South Ossetia and had not been defeated, Reuters reported.

Georgian forces have withdrawn from nearly all of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, Secretary Alexander Lomaia told AFP on Sunday. 

"We have left practically all of South Ossetia as an expression of good will and our willingness to stop military confrontation," he said.

Russia bombed a military airfield outside the Georgian capital early on Sunday and Tbilisi said the Russians were also massing troops in Abkhazia on the Black Sea, another region that broke with Tbilisi in the early 1990s after a war.



Russian warships earlier said to be near Georgian waters on Sunday put into Novorossiisk, a Russian Black Sea port to the north, Reuters said citing the navy.

"I hereby confirm that the Moskva and the Smetlivy have come into the port of Novorossiisk,"  Reuters quoted Igor Dygalo, navy spokesman and aide to the naval commander as saying.

News agencies had earlier quoted naval sources as saying that the Moskva, flagship for Russia's Black Sea Fleet, and the Smetlivy were in waters by Russia's border with Georgia.

It was claimed that they have been ordered to prevent weapons from reaching the Caucasus state.



Ukraine said on Sunday it reserved the right to temporarily bar Russian warships dispatched to the Georgian coast from returning to their Ukrainian base of Sevastopol.

"Ukraine ... reserves the right to bar warships and vessels which could take part in the action (conflict with Georgia) from returning to Ukrainian territory until the conflict is solved," a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry statement said on Sunday.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet is based in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol.

"The Ukrainian side warns the Russian side against the possibility of the Black Sea warships taking part in the conflict over South Ossetia," the statement posted on the ministry website also said.

Russia has accused ex-Soviet Ukraine, a strong pro-Western ally of Tbilisi, of supplying weapons to the Caucasus state and encouraging it to strike South Ossetia.

According to some Russian news agencies, the Russian warships were tasked to prevent weapons and military hardware from being shipped to Georgia.




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