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9 Aug, 2008 16:48

Putin to take care of South Ossetian refugees

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has changed his travel plans to see for himself the efforts being made to help the war refugees from South Ossetia. The former president has arrived in the capital of North Ossetia, Vladikavkaz, to hold talks with evacuees an

Putin is discussing an aid package to help North Ossetia cope with the influx of refugees.

“The actions of the Georgian leadership in South Ossetia are crime and foremost they are crime against their own people because a deadly blow has been delivered to the territorial integrity of Georgia, which brings a massive damage to its national identity. It’s hard to imagine after all that had happened and after all that is still happening they’ll be able to convince South Ossetia to be part of Georgia,” Vladimir Putin said.

“The aggression has lead to numerous casualties, including peaceful civilians, and created a humanitarian crisis, which is a crime against the South Ossetian people,” he added.

Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian government is planning to allocate around $US 400 million for reconstruction of South Ossetia.

The head of Russia's Emergencies Ministry, Sergey Shoigu, is also in North Ossetia. 

Russia has sent doctors and medical supplies to the conflict zone in effort to treat the wounded as soon as possible.

Russia’s Vice-Premier and Cabinet Office Head, Sergey Sobyanin said the conflict was creating a refugee crisis.

“In the past 36 hours, more than 30,000 have crossed the Russian border. We face a real situation, a humanitarian catastrophe in the region,” he said.

“All the refugees who have applied for the assistance are being provided with the necessary aid,” Sobyanin added.

Ninety wounded people have been evacuated from the South Ossetian capital later on Saturday. Authorities in the breakaway region say the emergency convoy had to take a long route out as Georgian officials refused to guarantee safe passage, even for seriously injured children.