A number of people have been killed in a car explosion near a Russian base in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. Initial information about the blast in the regional capital of Tskhinvali came from a South Ossetian news agency.
The Russian government says seven of its servicemen died in the explosion which devastated buildings five hundred metres away. Months of skirmishes between separatists and Georgian troops erupted in war in August when Georgia sent forces to retake the pro-Russian rebel region.
South Ossetian leaders are blaming Georgia for the car bomb, allegations Tbilisi strongly denies.
In August, the West condemned Russia for what it called a disproportionate response and has repeatedly called on Moscow to pull its troops out.
The Russians, though, claim there are armed forces trying to destabilise the situation. European monitors are in the Russian-controlled buffer zone around South Ossetia to oversee the peacekeeping operation.