Russian army “controls third of Georgia”

A231312314.jpgPresident Saakashvili says the Russian army controls around a third of Georgia, two days after both Moscow and Tbilisi signed up to a ceasefire. Tanks and troops deployed around three Georgian towns despite growing international pressure for the military to withdraw.

Eyewitnesses have spoken of rape, looting and burning in Gori, which they blame on militias from South Ossetia.

Russian commanders said yesterday they would hand over control of Gori. People in Zugdidi say around 100 military vehicles are massed two kilometres from the town.

Mikheil Saakashvili said: “Right now Russian troops physically control around one third of my country. We are talking about more than a thousand armour. We are talking about numerous air force detatchments but we are also talking about thousands of thousands of irregulars that the Russian brought in.”

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Tbilisi later where she expects to secure Georgia’s signature on a peace deal. This, French President Sarkozy, says should mean that the Russian withdrawal can begin.

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