Russia condemns attack on South Ossetia by Georgia

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Moscow, Aug 8 (UNI) The Russian Federation today lashed out at Georgia for attacking Tskhinvali and called upon international community not to remain indifferent at this difficult moment when the destinies of the hundreds of thousands of people in the region were being decided.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, in a statement on the situation in South Ossetia, warned that it was still not too late to prevent massive bloodshed and new casualties, including those among the civilian population.

Fighting raged in and around the capital, South Ossetia, Georgia's breakaway region, today as Georgian troops attacked rival forces to retake control over the region.

The situation has the potential of snow-balling into a major conflict in the region as Russian troops could be forced to enter the scene.

The statement also aired concern over the Russian peacekeepers' fate.

The statement said the Georgian leadership should think better of it and return to civilised methods of solving the complicated issues of political settlement.

''We also expect that our foreign partners and the international community as a whole will not remain indifferent at this difficult moment when the destinies of the hundreds of thousands of people living in this region are being decided. It is necessary to jointly stop violence that is fraught with the gravest consequences for regional and international security,'' the statement added.

It said the Russian Federation would continue efforts to prevent any further bloodshed and at getting the situation in South Ossetia back into its peaceful course.

Giving details, the statement said last night, a few hours after an agreement had been reached to hold talks to settle the new round of the South Ossetia conflict, Georgian military units undertook a ''treacherous, massive attack on Tskhinvali.'' ''A use-of-force scenario was resorted to, by the Georgian leadership, despite all the diplomatic efforts that had been undertaken in contacts among Moscow, Tbilisi, Tskhinvali, Washington and other concerned capitals,'' it said.

The Foreign Ministry said the credibility of the Georgian leadership as a responsible participant of the negotiation process and of the international intercourse corresponding to the principles of the United Nations Charter in general, had been completely undermined as a result.

''It has become absolutely understandable why during a long period Tbilisi had under various pretexts stubbornly avoided concluding legally binding agreements with South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the non use of force,'' it said.


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