The Battle of Ossetia


John Edwards picked a pretty good day to admit his caddishness. Not only is it a Friday—the preferred day for dropping ugly and/or embarrassing stories—and the start of the Beijing Olympics, but Vladimir Putin, errr, Dmitri Medvedev sent Russian troops into the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia. Georgia claims it is in control of the Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. The London Times has details:

Russia sent troops and dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles into the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia today, vowing to protect its citizens in a move described by Tbilisi's pro-Western Government as an act of war.

A South Ossetian rebel minister said that more than 1,000 people had been killed in overnight shelling of the city of Tskhinvali, the separatist capital which Georgia claimed today to have captured.

In probably the most serious regional crisis since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, at least 50 Russian tanks—and possibly many more—rumbled through the Roki tunnel, which cuts through the Caucasus mountains separating South Ossetia from the Russian province of North Ossetia.

The London Times on "why this conflict matters to the West." More background from The Economist.