Georgia's Saakashvili accuses Russia of ethnic cleansing, violating cease-fire

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Tiblisi (Georgia), Aug 13 : Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili today said that Russian troops were completely disregarding the cease-fire agreement reached on Tuesday, continuing a campaign of violence against Georgian citizens that amounted to ethnic cleansing.

Saakashvili, speaking in Tbilisi alongside a handful of other Presidents from former Soviet states, said he had reports that Russian troops were still taking control of Georgian territory beyond the borders of two separatist regions and were forcing residents into "internment camps".

The head of Georgia's Security Council said earlier on Wednesday that 50 Russian tanks had entered the strategic Georgian city of Gori, and another top Georgian official said his country's troops were completely driven out from the separatist province of Abkhazia.

Lithuanian President Vladas Adamkus, who spoke immediately after Saakashvili, criticised Russia's leaders for their allegedly ceaseless military campaign in Georgia, the BBS News reported.

He backed Saakashvili's call for all Russian troops to be withdrawn from Georgian territory, including the provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and berated the Western world at large for "appeasing" Russia's actions over the past week.

Saakashvili said Russian tanks were "attacking" Gori, and ground troops were carrying out a siege on the city. "There is marauding, there is destruction of buildings... the worst kind of marauding I could ever have imagined," said the president.

Both presidents Saakashvili and Adamkus called for "real, international peacekeepers" to be allowed into the region immediately.

European foreign ministers are meeting on Wednesday in Brussels to discuss the cease-fire agreement, and France is seeking support from its EU partners for the deployment of European peacekeeping monitors to help defuse the Russia-Georgia confrontation.

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