Sunday, August 10, 2008

Russia Bombs Pipeline

As the South Ossetia war escalates, Russian jets have reportedly bombed a pipeline in Georgia that supplies oil to the West.

The pipeline is 30 per cent owned by BP and supplies 1 per cent of the world’s oil, pumping up to a million barrels of crude per day to Turkey. It is the only oil and gas route that bypasses Russia’s stranglehold on energy exports from the region.

Georgia declared a state of war, recalled all its 2,000 troops from Iraq and ordered a mass call-up with reservists being sent to the war zone to ‘defend the motherland’.

Russia claimed that it had ‘completely liberated’ the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali – a claim denied by Georgia.

Most of the 70,000 South Ossetians hold Russian passports and are allied to Moscow, while Georgia is an ally of the US and has applied to join Nato.

The Georgians are outnumbered and outgunned in every department. Russia has about 697,000 troops, while Georgia has only 19,500 full-time regulars.

And with Russia’s 1,200 combat aircraft confronting Georgia’s seven outmoded support planes, and 6,000 tanks against 100 ageing machines, Georgia appears to have no chance of winning.

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