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Russia tightens grip on South Ossetia

Russia tightens grip on South Ossetia
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The Russian army now appears to have firm control of South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali.

Georgia says its forces have withdrawn from practically all of its breakaway enclave. Officials said it was because of the heavy civilian casualties Georgia had suffered.

Georgian Security Secretary Kakha Lomaia said: “Under those aggravated circumstances, the military commanders in the battlefield regrouped the troops and pulled them out from the city of Tskhinvali.”

As Russia sends in more and more soldiers, Georgia said an airfield near its capital, Tbilisi, was bombed overnight.

Moscow intervened amid a Georgian push to re-take control of South Ossetia from separatists.

Despite images suggesting the contrary, a senior Russian defence official has denied his country’s forces have hit any civilian targets during air raids.

On Saturday, several civilians were reported to have been killed in the Georgian town of Gori.

The Russian army initially denied Georgian forces had pulled out of South Ossetia. Later, however, it confirmed a Georgian withdrawal from the enclave’s capital.