|8/10/2008, 5:19 a.m. CDT
By JOAN LOWY
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia's use of overwhelming military force against
Georgia, including strategic bombers and ballistic missiles,
is disproportionate to any threat from the former Soviet
state and could escalate tensions in the volatile region, a
senior U.S. official said Saturday.
The Bush administration official, who briefed reporters on
condition his name not be used because of the sensitive
nature of the situation, said Russia has attacked areas in
Georgia that are far away from the separatist province of
South Ossetia, where the fighting has centered. The official
also said the Russian military is striking civilian targets.
"They have employed strategic bombers — the most potent
air weaponry that is in the Russian arsenal …. They
actually launched ballistic missile attacks on Georgian
territory," the official said. He also said Russia has
sent more than 1,000 paratroopers and armor into the region.
Russian bombing has also taken place in Abkhazia, a separate
breakaway region of Georgia, far from South Ossetia, the