Russia has invaded Georgia. Belfast Telegraph has more. CNN reports that the Republic of Georgia has asked the US for help. (Georgia has applied for NATO membership. Also, Georgia has supported US operations in Iraq, sending 1,000 troops).
Update I: The Australian reports that the Russians are moving on the provincial capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, which Georgian forces have been shelling.
The commander of Russian peacekeeping forces in the region claimed Tskhinvali has been ``almost totally destroyed'' by the Georgian attacks. . .The Georgians have reportedly shot down two Russian planes. The attack on Tsikhinvali would seem to be Russia's official justification for the invasion. Wikipedia notes:
After reports that Russian soldiers on peacekeeping duty in South Ossetia had been killed when a missile hit their barracks, President Dmitry Medvedev promised to defend Russian citizens under attack.
Currently, the status of South Ossetia, a former autonomous administrative district, is being negotiated with the Russian-supported separatist government. Recently these negotiations have broken down in light of Russia's decision to reinforce the region militarily and give Russian passports to South Ossetians.Russia has peacekeeping troops stationed in South Ossetia.
Update II: Georgia says Russia dropped two bombs on South Ossetia, and claims only that it is providing humanitarian support (CNN).
Update III (correction): Georgia actually has not 1,000 but 2,000 troops in Iraq, and these will be coming home says the Georgian PM.
Top Map: Stratfor.com.
Bottom map: BBC, from a good background piece on South Ossetia.