Georgia Claims Russian Tanks Enter Key City

RUSSIAN TANKGORI, GEORGIA(RUSHPRNEWS)13 August 2008–Georgia is accusing Russia of sending tanks into the strategic city of Gori despite a cease-fire in the fight over two pro-Russian breakaway Georgian regions. Georgian National Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaia told reporters Wednesday that about 50 Russian tanks and armored vehicles had entered the city.Russia has denied the presence of tanks, but says troops have set up several checkpoints near the largely-abandoned city. There were no reports of combat.Both Georgia and Russia have agreed to the main points of a French-brokered peace plan which calls for the withdrawal of forces from two Georgian breakaway regions and free access for humanitarian aid workers.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says the European Union should deploy peacekeeping monitors to help diffuse the situation.

Kouchner spoke Wednesday ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Belgium.

Georgia’s Health Minister Alexander Kvitashvili says that 175 Georgians have died in five days of air and ground attacks. Russia says the death toll is at least 1,500. There are no independently confirmed casualty figures.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990’s but have not been internationally recognized.

news source Voice of America – Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.