Officially it is not yet full-scale war, but amid the chaos and the carnage in South Ossetia, it is difficult to find a more apt description.
Georgia and its giant neighbour Russia are tonight on the brink of a serious conflict. They are battling for control of Tskhinvali, the capital of the Georgian separatist rebel region of South Ossetia.
Georgia’s military has been attempting to retake the territory from separatist forces. But, in response, Russia has sent more tanks there, after saying a number of its peacekeepers were killed.
A minister in South Ossetia’s breakaway administration claims more than 1,000 people died in overnight shelling of Tskhinvali by Georgian forces. The Russian military is now said to control part of the city.
Evoking ethnic cleansing, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Georgians of driving people from their homes.
Moscow denies Tbilisi’s claims that it arms South Ossetian separatists. It says it is cutting all air links with Georgia.