Russia Orders End to Georgia Fighting
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the Russian military to cease its operations in Georgia following five days of fighting. Medvedev made the announcement after French President Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Moscow in an attempt to secure a ceasefire. Russia says over 2,000 people have died since fighting first broke out in South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia. The United Nations estimates that the conflict has displaced 100,000 people. On Monday, Russia opened a second front in the war by taking the Georgian city of Gori, about sixty miles west of the capital Tbilisi. The BBC reported several people died in Gori when Russian warplanes bombed a hospital. A Dutch TV cameraman was also killed in the Georgian city. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused Georgia of starting the conflict by invading South Ossetia.
Dmitry Medvedev: “I’ve already said that in accordance with the United Nations code, we are trying to force Georgia, which started the aggression, to peace. We find this tactic very effective and the only possible one. I want to remind you that history has seen many examples of pacification by the aggressor in this way. Western countries did it seventy years ago, and you know the tragic consequences of it, I mean the lessons of the Munich Agreement of 1938.”
On Monday, the US-backed Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Russia was trying to annihilate Georgia.
Mikheil Saakashvili: “We are in the process of invasion, occupation and annihilation of an independent democratic country. We are in the process of the destruction of world order as it was established after the end of the Cold War. And it is so obvious that the world has to react. There is no way Georgian people would ever live with occupation and annexation.”
The international community has been split on how to respond to the Russian-Georgian conflict. The United Nations failed to reach an agreement to call for a ceasefire, but President Bush accused Russia of acting with brutality.
President Bush: “Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the twenty-first century.”