Saturday, August 9, 2008

Russian Air Force strikes military bases and airfields across Georgia (UPDATED)

Russian and Georgian sources are reporting Russian Air Force strikes on Georgian military facilities throughout Georgia. The port of Poti has also reportedly been bombed. Several Georgian aircraft were destroyed on the Marneuli air base near the Georgian capital Tbilissi. The Vaziani military base (25 km from the capital) was also bombed. The airport of Bolnisi is reported "destroyed" by Georgian sources.

In the meantime, Russian sources are reporting that the Russian Air Force has provided strong close air support to Russian peacekeeping units.

UPDATE 1 - Press TV reports:

Georgian authorities evacuate the presidential building and other government offices in the capital Tbilisi fearing Russian bombardments.

The statement was made by a top Georgian official, National Security Council Secretary Alexander Lomaia, on Saturday, AFP reported.

Lomaia said, "We have received reports from our defense ministry that five Russian military aircraft have taken off from Russia's North Caucasus region heading for Tbilisi." He said that was the reason why the decision was made straight away to evacuate the president's administration and a number of other important government agencies.

Lomia also added that the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili had been evacuated from the presidential building to a secure location. He went on to say that the president was about to declare a state of emergency over the next few hours and that the documents were on his desk to be signed.

This is while Georgian officials claimed that Russian planes on Friday allegedly bombed a military airport in Marneuli, the port of Poti and a railway junction and an airport in Senaki.