Trying to prevent developments from spiraling out of control, Georgia has declared a cease-fire following an outburst of heavy fighting with separatist forces in the breakaway region of South Ossetia on August 7. Georgia is blaming Russia for the escalation of violence.
In a televised national speech, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili asserted that Russian peacekeepers had admitted that they had "totally lost control" over South Ossetian forces. Moscow has not yet responded to the claim.
"The Russian peacekeeping forces told us several hours ago that they have totally lost control over the separatist forces," Saakashvili told viewers, according to an English-language transcript posted on Civil.ge. "We are in permanent contact with the Russian Foreign Ministry, but it fails to convince the separatist[s] to cease fire."
In a bid to resume talks with South Ossetia's separatist authorities, Saakashvili stated that he had ordered a cease-fire despite "intensive fire" from artillery, tanks, self-propelled artillery systems, mortars and grenade launchers. The weaponry claims could not be independently verified.
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Elizabeth Owen is EurasiaNets Caucasus news editor in Tbilisi.