MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Georgian military attacked the capital of breakaway South Ossetia on Friday with tanks and infantry and bombed a village, despite a ceasefire declared by Georgia, the separatist government said.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili had declared a unilateral ceasefire late on Thursday, soon before the UN Security Council gathered for an emergency meeting amid fears of full-scale war breaking out in the region. (PHOTOS)
The South Ossetian government said Georgian tanks and infantry attacked Tskhinvali, and that a large part of the city has been destroyed. Over 15 civilians have been killed, several buildings are on fire in the city center, and the local parliament building has burned down, the government said.
The rebel administration also said Georgian Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes have bombed the South Ossetian village of Kvernet as well as a humanitarian aid convoy.
At the Security Council session, Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called on the council to intervene to stop violence in the region.
The Kremlin said Russia's leadership is also holding emergency talks on the conflict, and is considering urgent measures to end the violence.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev "is heading a meeting to discuss a series of urgent measures to stop the violence in South Ossetia, to protect the civilian population and Russian citizens in the conflict zone, considering that Russian peacekeepers have a mandate there, and to safeguard Russian interests in the region," the Kremlin press service said.
A correspondent for Georgia's Imedi radio said Tskhinvali has now been seized by Georgia, but the report has not been confirmed by other sources.
Georgian Prime Minister Vladimir Gurgenidze said Georgia will continue its military operation until peace is established.
"The goal of Georgia's actions in the conflict zone is to establish peace in the region. And we will not stop until we have attained this goal," he said.
He said the country would offer an amnesty to South Ossetia's leaders, and provide over $35 million in reconstruction aid for province.