Georgia's president said Friday that his country is under attack by Russian tanks and warplanes, and he accused Russia of targeting civilians as tensions over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia appeared to boil over into full-blown conflict.
Background: South Ossetian Separatism in Georgia:
The region of South Ossetia lies in the north central part of Georgia and is home to an ethnic group distinct from both the Georgians and Russians. When Georgia came under Soviet rule in 1923, the Soviet government granted South Ossetia the status of being the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (SOAO) within the Soviet Republic of Georgia. At the same time, North Ossetia was left under the domain of Russia, thus splitting Ossetia into Northern and Southern regions. Therefore, since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the South Ossetians, have been attempting to gain independence since November 1989 when the SOAO Council sent a letter to the Georgian Supreme Soviet demanding to be unified with North Ossetia, mostly out of concern regarding Georgian nationalism and subsequent second class treatment.
Putin tells Bush in Beijing, "war has started".