War in the Caucasus: destruction in Tskhinvali
Tom Parfitt travelled to Tskhinvali, in a trip organised by the Kremlin, to witness first hand the destruction caused by the battle for South Ossetia
Ossetians stay in a basement of a destroyed hospital in Tskhinvali. Photograph: Mikhail Metzel/AP
A convoy of three buses and an escort of armed Russian Special Forces soldiers travelled across the border with Russia into South Ossetia yesterday, in a trip organised by the Kremlin for foreign media to witness first hand the destruction in Tskhinvali.
At the village of Dzhava 20 miles beyond the border a huge queue of Russian military hardware stood pointing south, testament to the might of the resurgent Russian state.
Several truck-mounted rocket launchers were a sign of Moscow's intent to hold Tskhinvali at all costs. Approaching Tskhinvali, the group of reporters was transferred to armoured personnel carriers because of the risk of fire from Georgian snipers, said the Russian officers leading the trip.