Saakashvili: Russia committing "ethnic cleansing" in Abkhazia

Other News Materials 12 August 2008 04:19 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili remained defiant late Monday in the face of Russian attacks into Georgia and accused Moscow of committing "ethnic cleansing" in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.

The conflict with Russia broke out last week in the Georgian separatist province of South Ossetia but quickly widened to include both Abkhazia and undisputed Georgian territory.

In an interview by telephone with US broadcaster CNN, Saakashvili said that the "biggest action" was currently in Abkhazia, where he alleged that ethnic Georgians were being forced out by Russian forces.

"I directly accuse Russia of ethnic cleansing," he said.

Saakashvili said that the latest Russian airstrikes inside Georgia had taken place against targets between the already heavily shelled city of Gori and the capital Tbilisi.

" Georgia will never surrender," he said. "Democracy is stronger than any of their bombs, any of their tanks."

He said that Russia would not heed international calls for a ceasefire and withdrawal to previous troop positions "when it's just a call and nothing more." Georgians do "feel let down by world democracies," Saakashvili said.