Bush calls for a cease-fire in Georgia

ZUGDIDI, Georgia

President Bush has renewed calls for a cease-fire in Georgia, as Russian troops move past the break-away border regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and into Georgia itself.

Pleas from the U.S. and other western nations seem to be having little effect on Russia. In fact, Russia is criticizing the U.S. for portraying Georgia as the victim instead of the aggressor.

Convoys of Georgian troops poured out of the City of Gori, shouting the Russians were coming. By the end of the day, Russian forces controlled at least four Georgian cities, towns and a military base. Georgia's president says his country has been sliced in half.

"We are basically seeing pre-planned, cold-blooded, and premeditated murder of a small country," said Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president.

The fighting began Friday when Georgia's military tried to quash resistance in South Ossetia, a rebel province loyal to Russia. However, Russia counterattacked, and since then Guram Mebuke of San Francisco has been seriously considering going back to his homeland. He left Georgia only four years ago.

"I don't want to sit here and do nothing and have my friends defend their own country and how they're going to die for each other. If no one help us, I mean, there's no way we can defeat Russia alone it's a huge country next door you know," said Mebuke, a Georgian immigrant.

President Bush has joined the international community urging Russia to accept an immediate cease-fire. Monday, he called the attacks unacceptable.

"Russia has invaded a Soverign neighboring state and threatens a democratic government elected by its people. Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st Century," said President Bush.

Such tough rhetoric, however, is likely going to have little influence. Russia is stronger economically than ever before and its leaders know they are critical in helping the U.S. deal with Iran and North Korea. U.C. Berkeley political science professor Steven Fish Ph.D., an expert on Eurasian issues, also says Russia was spoiling for a fight with Georgia.

"Georgia has been probably among all the post-Soviet states that neighbor Russia the most assertive, the most anti-Russian, the most inclined to try to partner with the United States," said Fish.

About 1,600 people have been killed since the fighting began, thousands more have been left homeless.

Related Link:
Civil.ge - Georgia's news Web site on Blogger

ABC7 News contributed to this story.

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