Friday, August 08, 2008

Oh, by the way, WWIII (by normal non-neocon count) is breaking out.

Putin Says `War Has Started,' Georgia Claims Invasion (Update1)

By Henry Meyer and Ryan Chilcote

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said ``war has started'' in the breakaway region of South Ossetia while Georgia accused Russia of ``a well-planned invasion'' and appealed to world leaders for help.

Russian ``volunteers'' are pouring over the border to help defend South Ossetia from Georgian forces, Putin told U.S. President George W. Bush in Beijing today, according to Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Russia of ``full-blown military aggression'' after civilians died in aerial bombings and wide-spread fighting in and around the disputed region. The country of 4.6 million people is fighting ``to secure its borders,'' Saakashvili told Bloomberg Television.

The U.S., European Union and NATO all called on both sides to end hostilities. The ruble dropped the most against the dollar in 8 1/2 years and Russian stocks tumbled today on concern the conflict will worsen.


Analysis: energy pipeline that supplies West threatened by war Georgia conflict

The conflict that has erupted in the Caucasus has set alarm bells ringing because of Georgia's pivotal role in the global energy market.

Georgia has no significant oil or gas reserves of its own but it is a key transit point for oil from the Caspian and central Asia destined for Europe and the US.

Crucially, it is the only practical route from this increasingly important producer region that avoids both Russia and Iran.

The 1,770km (1,100 miles) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which entered service only last year, pumps up to 1 million barrels of oil per day from Baku in Azerbaijan to Yumurtalik, Turkey, where it is loaded on to supertankers for delivery to Europe and the US. Around 249km of the route passes through Georgia, with parts running only 55km from South Ossetia.


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