A ceasefire has been ordered in South Ossetia, said Georgia, who offered to hold peace talks with Moscow, who denied that exchanges of fire had stopped and continued to bomb targets near Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital, including the airport, reports said.
Earlier, Georgia said that while Russian forces were in control of Tskhinvali, the breakaway region capital, Georgian troops had pulled out of it.
While thousands civilians have fled, it remains unclear how many have been killed.
The BBC has been told by Mikhail Saakashvili, the Georgian president, that since 0500 on Sunday morning, his forces had observed a ceasefire, though Russian planes kept bombing on them. Mr Saakashvili added that “all day”, his government has been trying to contact Russian, in order to discuss a ceasefire.
Late on Sunday, Russian jets were still carrying out bombing raids, and witnesses said Tbilisi International Airport had been hit by jets, as well as a military airfield close to the Georgian capital.
The western town of Zugdidi and Georgian-controlled territory inside Abkhazia had also been bombed by Russian planes, said a Georgian official, but the claims could not be independently verified.
The attack on the airport came only a few hours before the scheduled arrival of French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner (photo) and Finnish foreign minister Alexander Stubb, on a peace mission.
On Sunday, in order to discuss the conflict, the United Nations Security Council began meeting for a fourth day, but so far the countries have failed to agree on the wording of a statement calling for a ceasefire.
As Russian forces took control and Georgian troops drew back on Sunday, clashes in South Ossetia were reported to be less intense.
While fleeing the area on Sunday, local residents told the BBC that there was continued fighting on the outskirts of Tskhinvali, even though the city itself was relatively quiet.
Georgia “today stopped firing in the South Ossetian conflict zone and is ready to begin talks with Russia on a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities”, said the Georgian foreign ministry in a statement on Sunday evening.
To that effect, a note has been passed to the Russian embassy in Georgia, also said the statement.
“Our information does not confirm the Georgian statement”, a Russian foreign ministry official was quoted by Interfax as saying.
“There are indications that exchanges of fire are continuing and the Georgian forces have not been fully withdrawn from the conflict zone”, he said.
Russia’s actions have been described as “dangerous and disproportionate” by the US.
James Jeffrey, US Deputy National Security Adviser, also said that it would have a “significant” long-term impact on relations between Moscow and Washington, if the Russian escalation continued.
Georgia’s territorial intergrity in South Ossetia had been violated by Russia, said Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Nato Secretary General, condemning the “disproportionate use of force”.
After entering South Ossetia, two journalists, including a photographer for the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, were shot dead by separatists, reported Echo Moscow, the Russian radio station.