As Georgia moves to impose martial law, its president has rejected Russia’s version of what is happening on the ground in South Ossetia.
Mikheil Saakashvili denounced the figure of 1,500 civilian deaths at a “blatant lie.” Georgia also denies Russian forces have seized the rebel region’s capital.
Saakashvili said Russia was attacking Georgia by air, land and sea. And this has nothing to do, he maintained, with the situation in South Ossetia. He has repeated calls for an immediate ceasefire.
Georgia, which is recalling its entire 2,000 strong contingent in Iraq for deployment, has long had tense relations with Russia. It accuses its neighbour of arming South Ossetian forces, something Moscow denies.
The Kremlin is presenting its intervention as a peace enforcement operation, with President Dmitry Medvedev evoking a “humanitarian catastrophe.”
And he warned: “The people resopnsible for this humanitarian catastrophe should bear the responsibility for what they have done, according to international law.”