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Page last updated at 21:35 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 22:35 UK

Day-by-day: Georgia-Russia crisis

A day-by-day look at the first week of the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia.


WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST
Amid more reports of broken ceasefire agreements, the United States backs up its increasingly tough rhetoric by announcing that its military will deliver aid to Georgia.

President George W Bush warns that Russia "must keep its word and act to end this crisis", while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Moscow "seriously overstretched" itself in Georgia.

Resident in Gori
Gori residents have reported looting and violence

The Kremlin responds with some tough rhetoric of its own, accusing the US of treating Georgia like a "virtual project" and warning that Washington may have to choose between a partnership with Tbilisi, or with Moscow.

EU foreign ministers hold emergency talks in Brussels to discuss a peace plan agreed on Tuesday, and express broad support for proposals to send EU monitors to the area.

Meanwhile, in Georgia there are numerous accounts of Russian military activity far beyond the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov admits Russian forces are still near the towns of Gori and Senaki, saying they have to ensure the safety of civilians by dismantling ammunition and artillery left by the Georgian military.

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Residents tell the BBC of lootings and revenge attacks


TUESDAY 12 AUGUST

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announces the end of military operations

The day begins with fears in Georgia that Russia is planning a large-scale assault. Georgian forces pull back towards the capital, Tbilisi.

While European diplomats prepare to broker a ceasefire in talks with the Russian leadership, reports emerge of bombing raids on Gori, the town close to South Ossetia from where Georgia launched its military operation on 7 August. A Dutch TV cameraman is among several people reported killed.

In Abkhazia, Georgia's other separatist region, Russian-backed rebels announce the beginning of operations against Georgian troops in the Kodori Gorge area.

Then, ahead of a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announces that his forces will end their operation in Georgia, claiming that Russia's aims have been achieved.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili speaks to a large crowd in central Tbilisi, accusing the Russians of staging a ruthless invasion of Georgia.

Later, Mr Medvedev holds a joint news conference with Mr Sarkozy in Moscow to say Russia has agreed a six-point peace deal.

Under the plan, both sides would agree not to use force, and all troops would return to the positions they held before the conflict began.

Mr Sarkozy travels to Tbilisi, where he and Mr Saakashvili announce that Georgia also accepts a ceasefire.

MONDAY 11 AUGUST

Russian and Georgian forces both continue operations with reports of Russian air attacks against Georgian targets close to South Ossetia and nearer to Tbilisi.

Bernard Kouchner in Gori, Georgia
Bernard Kouchner travelled to Gori to see the effects of the conflict
Moscow accuses Tbilisi of ignoring its own self-declared ceasefire and attacking the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

European diplomats meet Georgia's president in Tbilisi, convincing Mikhail Saakashvili to sign a draft ceasefire agreement.

The diplomats, led by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, visit the town of Gori, scene of heavy Russian bombardments, before heading to Moscow in an effort to persuade the Russians to back the ceasefire.

But Russian officials reject the ceasefire before the diplomats even arrive, accusing Georgia of continued bombardments of South Ossetia.

Georgian officials then claim that Russian troops have moved south from the region and "captured" Gori in central Georgia. But Moscow denies that its soldiers entered Gori and Georgia appears to retract its claims.

Elsewhere, tensions are rising in Abkhazia, a second breakaway region of Georgia.

Russia deploys thousands of troops to the region and later moves from Abkhazia deep into Georgian territory. The move comes hours after Russian commanders order Georgian forces to withdraw from positions near Abkhazia or face attack.

Late in the day, Georgia says Russian troops have entered the port of Poti but Russia denies this.

The UNHCR estimates between 10,000 and 20,000 people have been displaced within Georgia, including South Ossetia. Russia says a further 30,000 people have fled north into the Russian province of North Ossetia.

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Refugees in North Ossetia camp

SUNDAY 10 AUGUST

Georgia says it has ordered its troops to begin a ceasefire, that its forces have withdrawn from South Ossetia and that the Russians are fully in control in the region's capital, Tskhinvali.

But Russia says clashes are continuing, and it launches fresh bombing raids near the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

Georgian refugees from villages near Tskhinvali block a road outside the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi (10 August 2008)
Thousands of people have fled into neighbouring parts Georgia and Russia

The targets appear to be a military airfield that had already been hit on Sunday morning - although reports say the international airport was also hit.

Russian warships are deployed near ports along the Georgian Black Sea coast, including Poti, where Georgian officials say wheat and fuel shipments are being blocked. Russia insists there are no plans to stop oil exports, but says it reserves the right to search any ships. Later reports say the warships have been withdrawn.

Meanwhile, the separatist authorities in Georgia's other breakaway region of Abkhazia announce a full military mobilisation, saying they have sent 1,000 troops to drive Georgian forces from their only remaining stronghold in the Kodori Gorge.

The US government deplores the "disproportionate and dangerous escalation" by Russia in the conflict and warns it could have a "significant" long-term impact on US-Russian relations.

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The BBC's team comes under attack from Russian forces.

SATURDAY 9 AUGUST

Georgian woman wounded in Russian air raid, Gori, 9 August
Russian strikes on the town of Gori hit civilian as well as military buildings

The Georgian parliament approves a presidential decree declaring a "state of war".

Russia says its troops have wrested control of the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, from Georgian forces.

Russian planes attack military targets in the central town of Gori, close to South Ossetia. Russian bombs hit a residential area. Georgia reports 60 deaths.

Russian and separatist officials put the death toll on the South Ossetian side since Thursday at least 1,400. Georgian casualty figures range from 82 dead, including 37 civilians, to a figure of around 130 dead.

Thousands of people are known to have fled South Ossetia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says his country is seeking "to force the Georgian side to peace" while his Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, accuses Georgia of committing "genocide".

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili accuses Russia of seeking to "destroy" his country.

A delegation of peace envoys from the US, EU and Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) heads for Georgia.

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Gori residents search for relatives following air strikes

FRIDAY 8 AUGUST

Video still from Russia's Channel One shows a Georgian tank burning in Tskhinvali (08/08/2008)
Fierce fighting raged for control of South Ossetia's capital, Tskhinvali

Russia pours troops and armour towards South Ossetia and engages Georgian forces in and around Tskhinvali.

Georgia says its military bases have been attacked by Russian aircraft as President Mikhail Saakashvili says his forces control Tskhinvali. The separatists, for their part, say they control the city.

President Saakashvili says 30 Georgians have been killed, while Moscow claims that 21 Russian soldiers have lost their lives.

The Georgian authorities say they expect a Russian attack on the capital, Tbilisi.

Georgia also announces it is withdrawing half of its contingent of 2,000 troops from Iraq, so that they can be sent to South Ossetia.

International aid agencies, meanwhile, express grave concern about the plight of civilians caught up in the conflict.

In Tskhinvali, many people are reportedly sheltering from the fierce fighting in their cellars. The UN refugee agency says thousands of people have fled and many homes have been destroyed. It says water and food are in short supply.

An International Red Cross spokeswoman says ambulances cannot move, hospitals are overflowing, and surgery is taking place in the corridors.

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Footage reportedly shows Russian tanks entering South Ossetia

THURSDAY 7 AUGUST

Georgian forces and separatists in South Ossetia agree to observe a ceasefire and hold Russian-mediated talks to end their long-simmering conflict.

Hours later, Georgian forces launch a surprise attack, sending a large force against the breakaway province and reaching the capital Tskhinvali.

South Ossetian rebel leader Eduard Kokoity accuses Georgia of a "perfidious and base step".

The head of Georgian forces in South Ossetia says the operation is intended to "restore constitutional order" to the region, while the government says the troops are "neutralising separatist fighters attacking civilians".

Russia's special envoy in South Ossetia, Yuri Popov, says Georgia's military operation shows that it cannot be trusted and he calls on Nato to reconsider plans to offer it membership.




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