Russia and Georgia have accused each other of being the aggressor as fighting rages on in South Ossetia.
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday asserted that
Georgia has committed genocide against its own people, and therefore
has lost the right to rule the breakaway region. Georgia's President
Mikhail Saakashvili called Russia's actions in South Ossetia "madness,"
and he urged an immediate cease-fire.
Fierce fighting continued for a second day in the region Saturday, and
thousands of people were reported to be fleeing the violence. The
fighting was centered in South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali, but there
also were reports of battles outside South Ossetia, including in
Georgia's other breakaway region of Abkhazia.
Georgian officials accused Russia of staging airstrikes on military
bases not far from Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, and of bombing the Black
Sea port city of Poti, which is home to key oil shipping facilities.
Mr. Putin called the situation a "humanitarian catastrophe," citing
Russian claims of 15-hundred deaths in the fighting. Georgian Foreign
Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili said the conflict has claimed 150 lives,
including about 40 civilians.