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12 Aug, 2008 04:34

Russian troops do not plan to advance on Tbilisi - Moscow

Moscow has denied Georgia's assertion that Russian troops are moving in on the capital Tbilisi. The allegation was made by Georgia's Ministry of Defence. Russia has also announced its troops have left the Georgian town of Senaki.

Throughout Monday, Georgia repeatedly accused Russia of moving in on civilian targets, including the capital Tbilisi.

None of the reports have been substantiated and are denied by officials in Moscow.

Moreover, Russian peacekeeping forces have left Senaki, Georgia’s largest airbase, about 40km from the border with Abkhazia.

“Russian peacekeepers and military units attached to them have been taking action to prevent Georgia from shelling South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers,” a spokesman for the Defence Ministry said.

Another objective of the operation was to prevent ‘a build-up of additional volunteers and reservists’ mobilised to continue military operations in the breakaway republics.

It was Russia’s first operation inside Georgian territory proper since Tbilisi began its offensive against the breakaway republic of South Ossetia last week.

Moscow has also denied reports of Russian peacekeepers entering another Georgian city, Poti.

Georgia's Prime Minister has confirmed that no civilians were harmed in Russia's movements.

Meanwhile, the new statement of the Georgian government demands the international community to interfere and save the country. 

And Georgia's President, Mikhail Saakashvili, said Georgia is now battling for its independence.

Talking to Georgia's Security Council he described the situation in the country as “very difficult” and said that Russian troops have reached the road connecting the eastern and western parts of Georgia.

U.S. starts evacuating embassy staff from Tbilisi 

Meanwhile, the U.S. has begun evacuating the families of its diplomats from Georgia.  They are being sent to Armenia as a precaution, according to the U.S. Embassy in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

U.S. ambassador John Tefft and his team of diplomats will continue their work in Tbilisi.