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14 Aug, 2008 00:15

Russia mourns victims of bloodshed in South Ossetia

Russia held a day of mourning for those killed during the five days of fighting in South Ossetia on August 13. People from the capital Tskhinvali, which became a battlefield after being attacked by Georgia, are recovering from a nightmare. It’s hard to fi

A vigil to remember the victims of the violence was held during the night at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

To learn more about the ceremony, please follow link.

Meanwhile, convoys of refugees continue to stream into Russia's southern regions, where they are being provided with food and shelter. And with the humanitarian corridor now open, aid is continuing to arrive. Another convoy of humanitarian aid will arrive in Tskhinvali today.

The total number of refugees from South Ossetia has topped 34,000.

International aid

With South Ossetia's capital Tskhinvali completely devastated, and more than 30,000 people displaced, the international community is offering aid to those in need.

France has sent a planeload of humanitarian aid and is distributing 30 tonnes of medicine and other necessities among the victims of the conflict.

Spain has allocated €500,000 to help those in need.

Meanwhile, British prime minister, Gordon Brown, has expressed his readiness to participate in the relief effort.

Shadow of sorrow

Cars loaded with dead bodies continue to arrive at the morgues of Vladikavkaz and dozens of funerals are under way.

Koch Final, a 24-year-old volunteer, was shot near Tskhinvali. His family say they last spoke to him two days ago. He was caught in the middle of an interior barrage of the city.

“At four o'clock in the evening we called him there. He said massive shooting had begun and promised to call back. He never did,” his sister recalls.

Valentina Boratova spent three days in a bunker and, during a lull in the fighting, she managed to escape. She says her son remained in Tskhinvali to protect those left behind.

“We always hear disinformation. South Ossetians never attacked anybody, but the Georgians committed the fourth genocide here. They did it in 1920, 1991, 2004 and now,” Boratova says.

Refugee camps near the borderare filled with women and children. They have lost their homes as well as their relatives. Many had to avoid flying bullets while trying to find their way to safety.

People here say the number of refugees will only increase. And with it, the cemeteries of North Ossetia will become fuller by the day.