BBC News / 14:20 GMT, Sunday, 10 August 2008
A day-by-day look at how the conflict involving Russia and Georgia over the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia is unfolding.
SUNDAY 10 AUGUST
Georgia says its forces have withdrawn from South Ossetia and that the Russians are fully in control in the region’s capital, Tskhinvali.But Russia says that while heavy artillery has been seen leaving the territory, Georgian troops are still present in some areas.
Thousands of people have fled into neighbouring parts Georgia and Russia
A BBC correspondent at Georgia’s crossing point into South Ossetia says fighting is continuing. Russia insists on a full Georgian withdrawal from South Ossetia before any kind of ceasefire can come into effect.
Early on Sunday morning, Russian jets bomb military airfield close to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Georgian officials say.
Russian warships are also 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.
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.
A Georgian interior ministry official later tells the BBC that Russia has launched “all-out military aggression” against Georgia, including bombing the western town of Zugdidi and 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.
SATURDAY 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.
FRIDAY 8 AUGUST
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.
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, Yury Popov, says Georgia’s military operation shows that it cannot be trusted and he calls on Nato to reconsider plans to offer it membership.