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Georgia and Russia 'at war' as 1,000 civilians are killed

By Jonathan Miller

Updated on 08 August 2008

The Georgian president declares war with Russia as the breakaway region of South Ossetia explodes into direct conflict.

"We are at war with Russia" the Georgian president has declared, as the crisis over the breakaway region of South Ossetia exploded into conflict.

The Russians say Georgian troops have fired on their peacekeeping forces for the first time. The region's president is claiming that up to 1,000 civilians have been killed in shelling overnight.

The latest clashes centre on the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali. Villages in a six mile radius south of the city have come under intense bombardment as Georgian forces try to seize control.

Now Russian tanks and troops have reached the outskirts of the city itself.

South Ossetia claimed independence from Georgia after a war 16 years ago and many would still rather be part of Russia. Now it is demanding self determination, leaving Moscow and Tbilisi fighting to assert control.

The UN Security Council will discuss the crisis later tonight after calls from around the world for an immediate ceasefire.

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