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Page last updated at 17:12 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 18:12 UK

Gori smoulders after the fighting

By Gabriel Gatehouse
BBC News, Gori

A Georgian man walks by his destroyed apartment building in Gori, Georgia, 12 August 2008
Buildings in Gori smouldered as ambulances rushed around

I have spent most of the day a short way away from the town of Gori, the largest town south of the dividing line between South Ossetia and Georgia proper.

The town came under artillery bombardment for about three hours this morning.

The last explosion I heard came just half an hour before the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, announced a cessation of hostilities.

A little while after that I went into the centre of town to see the damage.

In the central square an artillery shell had embedded itself in the pavement right in front of a massive statue of Josef Stalin - Gori is his hometown and they still adore him here despite his connections with Russia.

That shell, having not damaged the former Soviet leader, had blown out all the windows in all the buildings in the surrounding square. It had taken down power cables.

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Andrew North reports from Gori after apparent Russian attacks, 12 August

Elsewhere in the town I saw buildings still smoking and ambulances rushing around, presumably tending to the wounded.

On the road itself leading south from Gori to Tbilisi, the evidence was still fresh of the retreat by the Georgian army from Gori on Monday night.

I saw a burned-out tank on the way and lots of other military vehicles that had been deserted.

Some still had ammunition in the back - left, presumably, to whoever wanted to find it.

In the evening some of the soldiers were returning to try and gather what had not been taken away.


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