Separatist forces in South Ossetia have been fully mobilised following the shelling of the region’s main city Tskinvali by Georgian troops last night. The Interior Minister in the breakaway South Ossetian government warned of reprisals if Georgia continued its fire.
Mikhail Mindzayev said: “I want to repeat that if the Georgian side tries to shoot at Tskhinvali with heavy weapons, then South Ossetia will take steps in response that would be very effective and painful for Georgia.”
Georgia is determined to restore its authority in its breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, whose separatists have retained close links to Russia.
South Ossetian officials say last night’s shelling left three people dead and 11 wounded.
Georgia says its troops were responding to separatist attacks, including an attempt to kill the man Tblisi recognises as South Ossetia’s leader.