Georgia Claims Russians Have Cut Country in Half

A column of Russian armored vehicles, headed towards the breakaway republic of South Ossetia's capital Tskhinvali, is seen in North Ossetia, Russia, Friday, Aug. 8, 2008. Russia sent columns of tanks and reportedly bombed Georgian air bases Friday after Georgia launched a major military offensive Friday to retake the breakaway province of South Ossetia, threatening to ignite a broader conflict. Hundreds of civilians were reported dead in the worst outbreak of hostilities since the province won defacto independence in a war against Georgia that ended in 1992. Witnesses said the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali was devastated. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)
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Moscow (AP) Georgia's president says Russia's troops have effectively cut the country in half by seizing a strategic city that straddles the country's main east-west highway.

President Mikhail Saakashvili made the statement in a national security council meeting, about an hour after officials claimed Russian troops had captured Gori, about 60 Miles west of the capital Tbilisi.

The news agency Interfax cited a Russian Defense Ministry Official as denying the reports of the seizure.

But a top official at the Georgian embassy in Moscow says Russian troops appeared to be moving toward Tbilisi and he alleged Russia's goal was “complete liquidation” of the Georgian government.