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10 Aug, 2008 22:31

Violence continues despite ceasefire - reports

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has told CNN that Tbilisi has proclaimed a ceasefire and is willing to sign a document on the non-use of force in the conflict zone. He claims Georgian forces have completely withdrawn from South Ossetia. However peo

There are reports there has been a new outbreak of artillery shelling in Tskhinvali during the night, though the South Ossetian capital is now fully under the control of South Ossetian forces and the Russian 58th army, according to the breakaway republic's president Eduard Kokoity.

“All strategic heights around the city are also being taken under control so that not to allow another shelling of Tskhinvali,” Kokoity said.

A constant tide of wounded people from Tskhinvali to Russia's republic of North Ossetia keeps flowing.

Hospitals in the city of Vladikavkaz are overcrowded, and surgical operations are said to be non-stop.

The situation in the South Ossetian capital remains grim. Thousands of people are still taking shelter.

Humanitarian aid from Russia is struggling to reach those in need who are without water, food, medicine and electricity.

Witnesses say Georgian forces used cluster bombs and burned down a church where Ossetian civilians were sheltering.

“There is a village called Tsunary. There used to be a church there. The locals used it as a shelter hoping they wouldn't be attacked in a church. It was burned to the ground with the people inside. And they call themselves a Great Georgian Orthodox Christian nation!”  witnesses told Russian radio station Vesti-FM.

Officials say more than 2,000 people have been killed and it's feared that number will grow.

But the Secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council, Aleksandr Lomaya, claimed Georgian troops had merely relocated to new positions within South Ossetia.

“Following the airstrikes, Tskhinvali is virtually obliterated. In these conditions our forces have relocated and assumed new positions,” Lomaya said.

Meanwhile, according to reports from Tbilisi, 45 Georgian soldiers and 40 civilians were killed in two days of violence in South Ossetia. Those figures contrast wildly with those released by South Ossetia and Russia, who say an estimated 2,000 people have been killed.

Georgia's media is also reporting strikes by Russian war planes outside the conflict zone.

Media reports say an apartment block in the Georgian town of Gori was hit by a Russian bomb.

Also Russian planes are reported to have bombed Georgian military bases and airfields across the country as well as the seaport of Poti.

Russia's Defence ministry spokespokesman has denied Georgian reports that Russian air planes attacked civilian targets.

To watch the full press-conference of Anatoly Nogovitsyn click here.