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Russia steps up attacks on georgia

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Picture: AFP/Dmitry Kostyukov- Georgian soldier lies dead on a street on the outskirts of Tskhinvali. Russia kept up its attacks on Georgia in the early hours of this morning.

The Tbilisi government says Russia intensified attacks on Georgia today, ignoring appeals for a ceasefire and US diplomatic warnings.

After taking control of Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia, Russian warplanes carried out fresh bombing raids in Georgia.

With Russia saying more than 2,000 people have been killed, Europe led diplomatic efforts to end the conflict with the French and Finnish foreign minister holding talks in Tbilisi today ahead of a meeting with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow tomorrow.

US President George W. Bush, Georgia’s strongest western ally, told Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the Russian offensive was “unacceptable”.

An interior ministry spokesman says Russian planes bombed radars at Tbilisi airport and hit civilian targets in the Georgian city of Gori.

Russian planes had already bombed a special forces base and an air traffic control centre in the Tbilisi suburbs. Explosions could be heard from the centre of the capital.

Three Russian soldiers were killed and another 18 wounded by Georgian forces in South Ossetia today, despite Georgia saying it had withdrawn its forces.

Russia, which has already moved battleships to the Black Sea, is preparing to deploy 9,000 troops to bolster its forces inside a second separatist Georgian region.