Sarkozy to arrive in Moscow as Russian Army advances in Georgia
Moscow, Aug 12 (ANI): With Russian Army moving into Abkhazia, another breakaway region of Georgia, in an apparent attempt to broaden the conflict over South Ossetia, French President Nicolas Sarkozy will arrive here to undertake a peace plan.
Sarkozy will meet his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Kremlin to discuss a French peace plan that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili signed on Monday as Russian troops moved further into Georgia and casualties mounted outside the breakaway regions that sparked the war.
Russia has sent 9000 soldiers there in addition to a 3000-strong peacekeeping force on the ground. Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in Abkhazia since 1994 following a conflict where the coastal region broke away from Tbilisi's control.
As the President of the European Union, Sarkozy's visit comes a day after US President George W. Bush strongly criticised Russia, saying it might be planning to depose the Georgian government and called on Russia to withdraw its troops.
"Russia has invaded a sovereign neighbouring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st Century," Bush said in Washington.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused Western countries of turning a blind eye to alleged atrocities by Georgia's forces during their surprise offensive last week, while Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili described Russia as a barbaric aggressor accused Russia of expelling ethnic Georgians from both breakaway regions.
While Russian officials said at least 1,600 civilians in South Ossetia have died since fighting erupted on August 8, Georgia maintained that Russian troops on Monday began a ground offensive, prompting the former Soviet republic's army to retreat toward Tbilisi.
According to media reports, Russian artillery rolled deep into western Georgia and took several towns and a military base, as other forces captured Gori on Monday.
Georgia and Russia began fighting when Russia moved in troops and bombed targets after Georgian forces began an offensive into South Ossetia, which split away from Georgia in an early 1990s war.
Russia has justified it actions by calling it as Georgian-waged genocide in South Ossetia. (ANI)
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