Thousands Flee as Russia Attacks Central Georgia

Russian army bombards Gori as war moves beyond provinces
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2008 4:55 AM CDT
An unidentified crying Georgian woman is calmed by her husband in the town of Gori, Georgia, just outside the breakaway province of South Ossetia, Monday, Aug. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Thousands of Georgians are fleeing the central city of Gori as the Russian army continues to wage major attacks beyond South Ossetia, reports the Times of London. Russia launched a massive aerial bombardment of Gori amid reports that it was on the verge of a ground invasion. The move from South Ossetian territory into Georgia proper is a chilling sign that Russia is going well beyond its stated intention to secure the breakaway province, and seeks to punish Georgia.

Russian forces also conducted an air strike on an air traffic control center and a special forces battalion located outside the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. According to some reports, the Russian army has moved into Abkhazia, the second of Georgia's semi-independent provinces. Washington has issued a stern warning, with Dick Cheney's office declaring, "Russian aggression must not go unanswered."