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Georgia's leaders accuse Russians of violatin -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: An escalation of the Georgian conflict remains a distinct possibility
tonight with Russian forces apparently roaming at will through their southern neighbour's
territory, and explosions rocking the flashpoint Georgian town of Gori.

Georgia's leaders are accusing the Russians of violating a two day old ceasefire, and their allies
in the bush administration have warned Moscow it must end the crisis if it wants to salvage its
relations with the West.

But as the United States airlifted supplies to refugees, Russia responded that America was playing
a dangerous game.

Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN, REPORTER: Columns of Russian armour and troops pushing south, deeper into Georgia,
and meeting no resistance.

RUSSIAN DRIVER (translation): We drive, drive, drive; where are we going?

TOM IGGULDEN: Ahead of them streams of Georgian refugees, crowded into whatever transport they can
find.

VOX POP (translation): When we were leaving the houses were burning.

TOM IGGULDEN: Even Georgian police joined the throng heading for Tbilisi, the capital. Refugee
camps are springing up around the city. In the pro-Russian South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali,
houses were burning.

The Russian forced responsible say the buildings sheltered Georgian snippers. The city came under
heavy Georgian fire last week, sparking the conflict. Russian commanders say they're now restoring
order.

VOX POP 2: I think that is wonderful. He's our safest.

TOM IGGULDEN: They also say they're handing back control of teh Georgina town of Gori, just over
the border.

VYACHESLAV BORISOV, RUSSIAN AIRBORNE TROOPS (translation): from tomorrow officially the Georgian
police will start working to carry out its own functions to bring the situation under control.

All the reports about now Gori is destroyed and that there is some looting going on are wrong.

TOM IGGULDEN: Georgina police were seen re-entering Gori late today, but Russian commanders blocked
international observers from entering Gori to see it for themselves. And there were unconfirmed
accounts of explosions and burning buildings there.

The Georgian President for one is refusing to accept Russian assurances.

MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, GEORGIAN PRESIDENT: Russian tanks have been on the move, Russian tanks and
Russian troops have been behaving extremely aggressively and they've been in the process of
basically completing ethnic cleansing of all Georgian populate areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

TOM IGGULDEN: He's also accusing Russian forces of attacking the Georgian port of Poti. The US
administration is firmly backing Mikheil Saakashvili, saying the US expects Russian to stop
destabilising the pro-Western Georgian Government.

GEORGE W. BUSH, US PRESIDENT: Russia has also stated that it has halted military operations and
agreed to a provisional ceasefire. Unfortunately we're receiving reports of Russian actions that
are inconsistent with these statements.

TOM IGGULDEN: The President is sending aid to help Georgian refugees, and his Secretary of State to
oversee the European Union brokered ceasefire.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, US SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not 1968; and the invasion of Czechoslovakia where
Russia can threaten its neighbours, occupy a capital, overthrow a Government and get away with it.
Things have changed.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Russian Foreign Minister accuses the Bush administration of arming Georgina
forces, weapons the Georgian's used to attack Tskhinvali, and touch off the conflict.

SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (translation): Bush's speech said nothing about what had
happened on August 8; when Western leaders maintained silence when Tskhinvali became a target of
massive bombing.

The Western political elite got excited only after teh Russian leadership decided not ot leave its
peacekeepers to their fate, not to allow ethnic cleansing.

TOM IGGULDEN: But despite Mr Lavrov's claims the Georgian conflict has stirred up anti-Moscow
demonstrations in other pro-Western on Russia's borders, including Lithuania and the Ukraine.

The Russian President meanwhile has reportedly met with the leaders of South Ossetia and other
pro-Russia separatist regions, promising support for autonomy.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.