On the news tonight - reports of Georgian forces observing a ceasefire - desperately trying to cast the Georgian forces in a positive light. Yet even on the very same news programs they later admitted that fighting continued in South Ossetia, and that Georgian forces hadn't completely withdrawn.
Tskhinvali is tonight still under fire from Georgian artillery.
The Georgian government cannot be trusted to observe any ceasefire, the last ceasefire was on Thursday, which they broke within hours when they launched an all out assault upon South Ossetia with armour, aircraft and artillery which flattened large parts of Tskhinvali killing around 1,500 civilians, and 10 Russian peacekeepers - the very forces they were supposed to be on the same side as. Within 12 hours or so they had taken control over much of South Ossetia, until the two brigades sent from the Russian 58th Army later pushed most of the Georgian forces out by Sunday morning.
Not only that, but Georgian President Saakashvili is probably one of the only heads of state capable of putting out dozens of lies per minute. He's accused Russia of "invading" Georgia, of carrying out ethnic cleansing - despite Ossetians fleeing into Russia after the Georgian military targeted Tskhinvali and destroyed much of the city - you don't see them fleeing into Georgia do you? Even more ridiculous, he accuses Russia of launching "all-out war" against Georgia! Honestly, don't you think if Russia wanted to launch all-out war against Georgia, they would use more than two battalions - which to be honest were probably all they had which were combat ready in the area. Less than 0.5% of Russia's total military. That's what Saakashvili calls all-out war? What a joke. If Russia had planned to take Georgia - instead of quickly throwing something together to defend South Ossetia from the Georgian onslaught - there would have been a build up for weeks, twenty times the number of troops would be deployed and Tbilisi would be surrounded by now, if not captured.
While he's talking to the media about his ceasefire - in Georgia itself he is calling for "total mobalisation", calling for all men to join up at recruiting stations.
At first I thought Saakashvili was just too much of a gambler, that he thought he had a good chance of successfully taking control of South Ossetia, and no doubt later Abkhazia, and that Russia would not want to get involved militarily, allowing Georgia to quickly take control and for the conflict to quickly fade while the Olympics held everyone's attention.
Growing though is the feeling the United States has cast its shadow over Georgia's actions, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Georgia a few weeks ago, no doubt they shared a wink and a nod while discussing South Ossetia. Georgia is a major American ally, the 3rd largest supplier of troops to Iraq, who's military is trained by and in the United States, and who have a large contingent of American and Israeli "advisors" within the country, and I don't think Saakashvili would have acted unless he felt the US would back him up if something went wrong.
At least one American has been captured, operating within South Ossetia with the Georgian military, presumed at the moment to be a military advisor.
Potential western involvement only makes it more likely that this will spin out of control, and it is clear that must be avoided. Georgia needs to get back to the lines it occupied on Thursday, which is the requirement Russia has put on the table for talks to begin.
In the meantime, Georgia should stop firing upon Tskhinvali so the remaining civilian population can be moved at least to the north of the city away from any fighting. As the situation calmed down somewhat yesterday as Georgian forces were pushed out of South Ossetia, Russia managed to get 120 tonnes of food into South Ossetia, and 17 tonnes of medical supplies to try and ease the situation on the ground for the civilians there - Georgia doing the same would also be a good idea instead of talking about "total mobalisation". Dialog also needs to start between the two, even if initially only to inform each other of the location of any aid convoys to try and keep them from coming under fire.