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Georgia targets breakaway S. Ossetia

TBILISI, Georgia, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Georgian troops reportedly laid siege late Thursday to the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

"The storming of Tskhinvali has started," South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity told the Russian news agency Interfax.

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The British newspaper, The Independent, reporting from Moscow, said a statement on the South Ossetian Web site reported that the "assault is coming from all directions."

South Ossetia and another breakaway region in Georgia, Abkhazia, have close ties to Russia. Georgia began moving troops toward Tskhinvali a few hours after the South Ossetians agreed to a Russian-mediated cease-fire, the BBC said.

Georgian officials said they were trying to restore legal order. Temur Yakobashvili, the minister for integration, said the government wants "to finish a criminal regime."

Russian officials predicted growing violence and asked for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting. Russian news agencies reported that men from Russia and Abkhazia were headed to South Ossetia to join in its defense.

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