Georgia Accuses Russia of Bombing Civilians

President says his nation is defending against aggressors
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2008 9:56 AM CDT
Russian TV shows a convoy of Russian tanks moving toward Tskhinvali in the South Ossetian enclave in Georgia on Friday, Aug. 8, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Russian troops are targeting civilians in their assault on Georgia, President Mikhail Saakashvili told CNN today. “This is the worst nightmare one can encounter,” he said. “They've been bombing Georgia from numerous warplanes and specifically targeting (the) civilian population, and we have scores of wounded and dead.” Asked if his country was at war with Russia he replied, “My country is in self-defense against Russian aggression.”

Georgia says that it declared a unilateral ceasefire to allow civilians to escape the conflict zone but that Moscow did not honor it. Russia entered the fray today in the escalating battle between the US-backed Georgian republic and rebels in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Moscow says it has not invaded, but merely sent “reinforcements” to its peacekeeping forces in the region. Georgia has shot down two Russian aircraft.