As efforts continue to find a quick ceasefire, civilians in South Ossetia and other parts of Georgia are struggling to comprehend the speed of events. There are conflicting casualty reports, but as many as 2,000 civilians are reported to have been killed. In South Ossetia’s capital, one man said: “I’m not going to leave. I must die here.”
In the heavily bombed town of Gori, not far from South Ossetia, people worry about where things might lead. One man said: “This is the wrong policy of our authorities and Russian authorities. They should have sat down together and started talks.” Another resident said Saakashvili should resign and the Russians should leave Georgia, further signs that not all residents support Tibilisi’s stand.
Refugees from Tskhinvali have been fleeing over the border into Russia, into the territory of North Ossetia, where they share cultural links. Authorities there have established numerous camps to acommodate those desperately seeking safety for their families.