Ossetia War Update: Russia Orders Cease-fire…Maybe
President Medvedev has ordered a halt to the fighting and a return of forces to their initial positions. For the Russians, that means “peacekeepers” will remain in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
A lengthy AP report recaps the latest activity. A taste:
In Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s provincial capital, the body of a Georgian soldier lay in the street along with debris. A poster hanging nearby showed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the slogan “Say yes to peace and stability” as South Ossetian separatist fighters launched rockets at a Georgian plane soaring overhead. Broken glass and other debris littered the ground. […]
The situation in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, remained tense as sporadic fighting and artillery duels continued, but the city was in the control of Russian army and South Ossetian forces.
In villages around Tskhinvali once populated by ethnic Georgians, South Ossetian fighters reportedly were setting fire to Georgian houses and searching for hidden Georgian fighters.
An AP photographer in the village of Ruisi near South Ossetia saw fresh damage from a Russian air raid that locals said came just 30 minutes before Medvedev’s televised statement.
We don’t know yet how many are dead. Both sides are making claims, but there are few independent observers in the areas where the worst fighting occurred. One noteworthy event reported by a Russian news agency and repeated by the UK’s Daily Mail is that Georgian troops torched a church in which South Ossetians had taken shelter. Gateway Pundit is skeptical. An atrocity like that needs to be investigated.
Meanwhile, Obama cheerleader Governor Tim Kaine says that Medvedev was just complying with Obama’s request for a ceasefire. I hate to be the one to tell you this, Timmy, but he’s not going to pick you.
All of my Ossetia War coverage can be viewed in chronological order here.