Georgia claims that it has shot down two Russian jets.
Georgia's Interior Ministry spokesman says that Georgian forces have shot down two Russian combat planes as violence escalates in the breakaway province of South Ossetia.This has the potential to spiral quickly into an all out war between the two countries over control over South Ossetia. Both countries claim dominion, and many South Ossetians have Russian citizenship.
Russia has sent 150 tanks and armored vehicles into the territory as what started as a regional conflict between Georgia and separatists threatens to build into all-out war.
A senior Georgian security official says Russian jets have bombed Vaziani military airbase outside the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, Reuters reports.
The Russians are threatening massive retaliation for the ongoing Georgian actions.
The map highlights why the Georgians consider the territory to be theirs. It practically envelopes Ossetia. The Russians have made it no secret that they intend to maintain their control over the territory. The Georgians are also making it no secret that they intend to have Ossetia for themselves and Georgian army units are engaged in gun battles in Tskhinvali with South Ossetian separatists.
For additional background, note also that this region has been ravaged by Islamist terrorists, including the butchers of Beslan and other Chechen terrorists. It is a hotbed of terrorism and experts also believe that al Qaeda has been active in the region.
Instapundit has more on the crisis, including an email submission that notes that Russia has a very long history in meddling in the affairs of its neighbors and both covert and overt attempts to expand its dominion.
Russian tanks have now entered South Ossetia and its capital. This situation is quickly degrading, and talks between President Bush and Russian leader Vlad Putin in Beijing aren't likely to make any headway either.
Changed header to reflect fact that we're witnessing the opening salvos of a war between Russia and Georgia directly after South Ossetian separatists, backed by Russia have been shelling Georgia periodically and repeatedly despite Georgia having engaged in ceasefires before.
Labels: Republic of Georgia, Russia, South Ossetia