Russia expanded its bombing blitz against Georgia, targeting the country’s capital for the first time. Heavy Russian shelling forced Georgian troops to pull out of the capital of the contested province of South Ossetia.
Russian jets, which have been roaming Georgia’s skies since Friday, bombed a factory on the eastern outskirts of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi that builds Su-25 jet warplanes.
The attack inflicted some damage to the plant’s runways but caused no casualties, said Georgia’s Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili.
Georgia’s Security Council chief Alexander Lomaia said the Georgian troops had to move out of Tskhinvali, the provincial capital of separatist South Ossetia, because of heavy Russian fire.
“Russia further escalated its aggression overnight, using weapons on unprecedented scale. In these conditions our forces conducted redeployment,” Lomaia said.
Georgia, whose troops have been trained by American soldiers, began an offensive to regain control over South Ossetia on Friday, launching heavy rocket and artillery fire and air strikes that pounded Tskhinvali.
In response, Russia, which has granted passports to most South Ossetians, began overwhelming bombing and shelling attacks against Georgia and Georgian troops.
The Georgian president proposed a ceasefire on Saturday but Russia said it wants Georgia to first pull its troops from South Ossetia and sign a pledge not to use force against the breakaway province.
The UN Security Council planned to meet for the fourth time in four days to try to resolved the situation.
The Press Association