Deutsche Presse-Agentur
August 8, 2008

Russian and Georgian armed forces were locked in combat on Friday over control of the Caucasus region South Ossetia, with hundreds of civilians reported killed or injured.

The escalating crisis prompted calls for restraint from international governments and bodies including the United States, European Union, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Eduard Kokoity, South Ossetia’s leader, said more than 1,400 civilians had died as a result of the combat beginning in sporadic firefights on August 1, and shifting to full-blown warfare early on Thursday.

Georgian fire killed at least 10 Russian peacekeepers stationed in the breakaway Georgian province in severe fighting centered in the South Ossetian city Tskhinvali, Russian army spokesmen said.

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