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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Fighting rages in South Ossetia
Georgian troops in South Ossetia
Two Georgian soldiers were killed in the attack
Heavy fighting has broken out in Georgia's South Ossetia region, shattering a two-day ceasefire.

Two Georgian soldiers died as their base in the village of Eredvi came under attack from South Ossetian separatist forces early on Monday.

The ceasefire was agreed on Friday between Tbilisi and South Ossetia, which wants to join Russia.

Georgian Interior Minister Irakli Okruashvili said there would be no more talks following the recent attacks.

Flying into Eredvi by helicopter to evacuate the wounded, he accused South Ossetia of double standards, saying the authorities in the region's main city Tskhinvali were clearly incapable of sticking to the ceasefire.

Violations

As part of the deal, the two sides had agreed to create additional buffer zones between their positions.

These would be patrolled by Russian peacekeepers and monitored by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

SOUTH OSSETIA
Population: About 70,000
Capital: Tskhinvali
Major languages: Ossetian, Georgian, Russian
Major religion: Orthodox Christianity
Currency: Russian rouble, Georgian lari
But the ceasefire has now been violated for two nights in a row. On Saturday, the convoy carrying the defence ministers of both sides came under fire shortly after they had finished negotiating the terms of their ceasefire.

There were also reports on Sunday night of further fighting between villages close to the capital of the breakaway region, but there is no information yet on casualties.

The commander of Georgia's peacekeeping battalion in South Ossetia, Alexander Kiknadze, said Georgian villages in the region came under heavy artillery fire in the latest attack.

He told Georgia's Rustavi 2 television that his battalion returned fire and had inflicted casualties on the South Ossetian side.

But Irina Gagloyeva, a spokeswoman for the South Ossetian authorities, said Georgian forces were the first to fire.




SEE ALSO:
Georgia wants Russian troops out
13 Aug 04  |  Europe
Georgia reports deaths in clash
12 Aug 04  |  Europe
Regions and territories: South Ossetia
13 Jun 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Georgia
14 Jul 04  |  Country profiles


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