Georgia says it has ordered a ceasefire in South Ossetia and offered to hold peace talks with Moscow.
But Russia denied that exchanges of fire had stopped, and continued to bomb targets near Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, including the airport, reports said.
Earlier Georgia said its troops had pulled out of the breakaway region and that Russian forces were in control of its capital, Tskhinvali.
Thousands of civilians have fled – it is not clear how many have been killed.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told the BBC his forces had observed a ceasefire since 0500 on Sunday morning, but had still been bombed by Russian planes. He said his government had been trying “all day” to contact Russia to discuss a ceasefire.
And how are the brilliant strategists at the UN handling this?
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council began meeting for a fourth day on Sunday to discuss the conflict. It has so far failed to agree on the wording of a statement calling for a ceasefire.
Just fucking wonderful.
Russia will continue to slaughter the Georgians, while NATO, the U.N., the EU, and most likely, our own government, will twiddle their thumbs and hope it all goes away.
COB6 at This Ain’t Hell makes this observation:
Just today the United Nations met for the third time in as many days and have accomplished absolutely nothing.
The London Times today reminds us of the last time Russia invaded Georgia in 1921. The president of Georgia appealed to the newly formed League of Nations. The League of Nations responded:
“it is realized that the League is incapable of rendering material aid and the moral influence which may be a powerful force with civilized countries is unlikely to make an impression upon Soviet Russia.”
The Germans and French who blocked Georgia’s attempts to join NATO in April will now be forced to find a diplomatic solution. And historically a European “compromise” will be little more than appeasement.
The question “Are we willing to start a war over a small piece of land with less than 75,000 people?” has already started. (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~pv/munich/czdoc08.html)
In that case it might be worth while for the Georgian Government to consider whether they should exclude altogether the project, which has found favour in some quarters, of making Georgia a more homogeneous State by the secession of that fringe of alien populations who are contiguous to the nation with which they are united by race. In any case the wishes of the population concerned would seem to be a decisively important element in any solution that can hope to be regarded as permanent, and the advantages to Georgia of becoming a homogeneous State might conceivably outweigh the obvious disadvantages of losing the South Ossetia districts of the borderland.
-[Source: The Times (London)]
Now go read that quote again. This time change Georgia to Czechoslovakia and South Ossetia to Sedeten German.
Oh, and change the source to:
-[Source: The Times (London), 7 September 1938]
UPDATE: Looks like GW cornered Vladimir at the opening ceremonies in Bejiing:
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd witnessed a heated discussion between US President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, over Russia’s invasion of a tiny neighbouring country as athletes paraded before them in the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
Mr Rudd revealed in an interview with Beijing Now in Beijing on Saturday that he was sitting just two rows behind Mr Bush when an “animated” discussion between he and Mr Putin broke out over Russia’s advance into South Ossetia, a breakaway region in neighbouring Georgia.
“The President and Mr Putin were in animated conversation two seats in front of us and I imagine they had a few things on their agenda,” Mr Rudd said.
Mr Rudd said that Mr Bush appeared to be making a strong point to the Russian Prime Minister, even as the world’s elite athletes filed into Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium.
Mr Rudd backed the US President’s position.
“Our position, like the Americans, is that it’s important for peace and stability to return to this part of Georgia,” he said.
“We recognise and continue to recognise Georgia’s soverignty over Ossetia and therefore it’s important that Russia cease its military involvement.
“This problem in Ossetia has been brewing for quite some time. Certainly the timing of the actions on the part of the Russians, that’s a question best put to them. What I know is the international community is speaking with one voice in support of the cessation of hostilities by the Russians.”
Russia and Georgia are locked in a bloody battle over the independent territory, with reports of 1400 people killed.
Georgian security officials said that Russian planes had bombed a military base outside the Georgian capital Tbilisi, killing three Georgian soldiers.
The tiny territory consists of just 70,000 people but the issue threatens to develop into a full-blown crisis after President Bush backed Georgia and warned Russia to roll back its tank fleets.
Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili, who has forged close ties with the West, warned that other European countries could follow if South Ossetia were allowed to fall.
“What Russia is doing in Georgia is open, unhidden aggression and a challenge to the whole world,” he said.
“If the whole world does not stop Russia today, then Russian tanks will be able to reach any other European capital.”
His warning was backed by the might of the US, with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice sending a stern message to the former Cold War foe.
“We call on Russia to cease attacks on Georgia by aircraft and missiles, respect Georgia’s territorial integrity, and withdraw its ground combat forces from Georgian soil,” she said.
Mr Rudd met Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing yesterday and raised with him Russia’s act of aggression at a time when the world has its head turned towards the Olympics.
“It is a matter of deep concern … China is a global force and I anticipate it will be part of our discussions,” he said.
George Bush had better do more than just give Putin a verbal thrashing.