Article published on the 2008-08-11 Latest update 2008-08-12 11:15 TU
A minibus passes a destroyed Georgian armoured vehicle near the town of Gori some 80 km from Tbilisi, August 11, 2008.
Georgia said late on Monday that Russian forces had occupied the city of Gori claiming that the Russian army seemed "intent on overthrowing the government of Georgia" and said it feared occupation.
Russia has denied that its army has taken the city which is located about 65 kilometres from the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
The secretary of Georgia's security forces, Alexander Lomaia, said his country's armed forces had been ordered to fortify positions near the town of Mtskheta, which is located 24 kilometres from the capital.
Russian troops moved into the town of Senaki on Monday, not far outside the region of Abkhazia, according to Russian news agencies.
They quoted a Russian Defence Ministry official who said that Russian forces were there to prevent Georgian troops from using the city as a point at which to regroup. On Monday evening the Russian Ministry said its army had left Senaki after forcing a Georgian military unit from the town.
Meanwhile diplomatic efforts to resolve the fighting continued.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner met Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in the town of Gori earlier on Monday. Kouchner said that his first impressions were "that the war must stop" and also said he was "not in the business of blaming people".
Kouchner has proposed a plan which involves an immediate ceasefire, medical access to victims, controlled withdrawals and long-term political talks.
Earlier on Monday, Russia announced that it had arrested a Georgian spy group that it alleged was planning terrorist attacks in Russia. Tbilisi accused Russia of ignoring American diplomatic warnings and increasing the intensity of its attacks in South Ossetia.
The American government has been a strong supporter of Saakashvili’s pro-Western government, which has distanced the former Soviet republic from Russia’s influence.
Washington has described Moscow’s response to the South Ossetia conflict as “disproportionate”. Georgia, which has the third largest military presence in Iraq, has begun withdrawing its troops to redeploy on the homefront.
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