Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Continued presence of massive Russian occupation force

Tuesday, August 12 • 17:50 Tbilisi, Georgia

URGENT: Georgia confirms continued presence of massive Russian occupation force, bombings, ethnic cleansing & economic warfare. Contrary to some media reports and to the statement by Russian President Medvedev, Russian occupation forces are fully operational in Georgia with at least 12,000 troops throughout the country, many of them outside of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is in no way represents a "halt to military operations" or a "halt to war" as many media outlets are reporting.

Specifically, at this hour:

  • Russian soldiers occupy the Georgian Black Sea Port of Poti, which they have destroyed and where they have killed nearly 100 civilians. The port is blockaded and there are tanks on the roads outside of Poti.

In recent hours:

  • Russian forces have bombed Gori city center for the first time, where two journalists were reported killed today and a hospital was bombed.

  • In western Georgia, Russian troops ordered members of the civil administration to abandon their posts

  • In Senaki, Russian forces bombed and are believed to have mined a major Georgian army base. The base had been evacuated prior to the attack.

  • Most of the ethnic Georgians who were in South Ossetia have been taken to Kurta detention camp by Russian troops or have been killed by separatist paramilitaries. The massacre is continuing.

  • Local witnesses are reporting that Russian troops (or Russian allied militia) are verifying the ethnicity of residents and—if they are Georgian—they are summarily executing them with a bullet to their head. Reports of such massacres are coming from the villages of Nikosi, Kurta, and Armarishili.

  • In Agara, a town outside of the conflict zones, an ambulance was bombed.

In recent hours, the Russian invasion forces also have begun a campaign of economic warfare. Among other attacks, they have:

  • Bombed a German-owned cement factory in Kaspi

  • Bombed and narrowly missed the BTC pipeline near Rustavi.