The Georgian forces have destroyed 40 Russian tanks as they tried to attack the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali from the north, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on August 9.
“Despite a huge attack the Georgian forces were able to repel it,” Eka Zguladze, the Deputy Interior Minister, said.
Shortly before this announcement, President Saakashvili said that the Georgian forces were in control of all the strategic heights and villages in the vicinity of Tskhinvali, including Znauri, Dmenisi and Tsinagari.
“Sweeping out of gangs, who have re-infiltrated in the north of Tskhinvali is now underway,” Saakashvili said.
The Georgian authorities have also claimed shooting down of total of ten Russian military aircrafts.
Russia has acknowledged that two of its jets were downed – TU-22 strategic bomber and SU-25 attack aircraft.
One Russian pilot died and two others, who managed to eject, were wounded and are now in the hospital in Tbilisi, the Georgian Deputy Interior Minister, said.
The Georgian television station, Rustavi 2, aired footage showing of one of the wounded pilot in the hospital, who told the TV station he was on “a reconnaissance mission on the border between Georgia and South Ossetia.”
The Georgian television station has also showed debris of one of the downed aircraft found in the village of Dzevera, close to the South Ossetian conflict zone.