It’s Official: Russia occupies Georgia, world pressure mounts!

Matt Robinson

GORI, Georgia (Reuters) – Russian troops and armor deployed around three Georgian towns on Thursday, as international pressure mounted on Moscow over its continuing occupation of parts of Georgia.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “extremely concerned” about the humanitarian situation in Georgia and called for a halt to lawlessness.

In the key Georgian town of Gori, west of the capital Tbilisi, correspondents saw signs of looting which locals blamed on militias from the neighboring province of South Ossetia, where the conflict erupted last Thursday.

Watch how a Georgian reporter is shot while doing her work.

Russian armed forces have occupied parts of Georgia since repelling a Georgian attack last week on the tiny pro-Russian separatist territory of South Ossetia, which threw off Tbilisi’s control in the 1990s.

Shops had been smashed up in Gori and there were very few parked cars. “They were stealing cars and breaking into shops,” Vasily, 72, said. “They spoke Ossetian.”

The Russians have pledged to stop looting but men wearing an assortment of camouflaged uniforms stole cars from journalists and from the United Nations on Thursday and a hidden sniper shot at a female Georgian television correspondent, grazing her arm.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the architect of a two-day old ceasefire, said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would visit Tbilisi on Friday to secure Georgia’s signature to a peace deal which would “consolidate” the halt to fighting.

“If tomorrow Mr. Saakashvili signs the document that we have negotiated with (Russian President) Mr. Medvedev, then the withdrawal of Russian troops can begin,” Sarkozy said.

Read more here.

Here a Russian General defends the actions of Russian Troops and explains that the Russians will leave and they will respect Georgian territorial integrity.


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