Russia entered the fight today between the US-backed republic of Georgia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia, the New York Times reports. Russian tanks rolled into the disputed region to back Ossetian rebels, and Georgia shot down two Russia aircraft, the AP reports. The violence is the worst in years in the Caucasus region, which controls the flow of oil from the Caspian Sea to world markets. At least 25 people, including civilians, have been killed since yesterday.
Each region faults the other for launching the new violence. “It does give off the appearance that the violence is linked to strategic moves by one or both sides to improve their positions,” says an analyst. At Russia’s urging, the UN Security Council held an “extremely rare” emergency meeting last night to discuss the situation, the Times notes.