TBILISI  - Advancing Russian forces on Monday took a key Georgian city and the country's armed forces retrenched to defend the capital, a top Georgian official said. Russian troops occupied Gori, close to the breakaway region of South Ossetia, Georgia's National Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia told AFP amid growing international calls for a halt to the fighting which has left hundreds reported dead and forced tens of thousands out of their homes. "Georgian armed forces received an order to leave Gori and to fortify positions near Mtskheta to defend the capital," said Lomaia. "This is a total onslaught." Mtskheta is 24 kilometres from Tbilisi. The UN refugee agency said earlier that 80 percent of the 50,000 population of Gori had fled the city because of Russian attacks. Georgian officials said that Russian jets had earlier bombed the city. Russian forces also carried out military operations around the western city of Senaki to prevent Georgian troops from regrouping and heading back into South Ossetia " the cause of the worsening Russia-Georgia conflict, news agencies reported quoting the Russian defence ministry. A Russian military spokesman said 9,000 troops and more than 350 armoured vehicles would be deployed to bolster forces inside the second Georgian separatist region of Abhkazia. Russia and Georgia traded accusations that each was launching attacks, while aid agencies warned of a mounting humanitarian crisis, heightening urgency to international efforts to secure a halt to the fighting. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Finland's Alexander Stubb were to put a peace plan to Russian leaders on Tuesday having persuaded Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili to sign up for the European Union plan, a senior Georgian official told AFP. But diplomatic tensions between Russia and the United States held up efforts to pass a UN Security Council call for an end to the fighting over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The Georgian foreign ministry said more than 50 Russian warplanes had flown over Georgian territory. "Tbilisi was bombed. Bombs hit the village of Kojori and Makhata mountain," it said. The South Ossetian separatist government said Georgia had resumed an artillery bombardment of its capital, Tskhinvali, where residents have reported many deaths. Saakashvili told foreign reporters several hundred Russian servicemen had been killed and 18 or 19 Russian aircraft shot down. The EU plan he signed up to calls for a ceasefire, medical help for victims, controlled withdrawals of troops on both sides and eventual political talks. On Tuesday, Kouchner and Stubb will meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, said Stubb, current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). French President Nicolas Sarkozy will go to Georgia on Tuesday, Saakashvili told journalists. Sarkozy is also due in Moscow to try to hammer out a ceasefire, Kouchner said. In Washington, foreign ministers from the G7 countries Monday urged Russia to accept an immediate ceasefire called by Georgia after a telephone conference call, a US State Department official said. But Moscow had launched its own diplomatic campaign. In Brussels, Russia's Ambassador to NATO called on the alliance to hold an extraordinary Russia-NATO council Tuesday before taking any decision on Georgia. Medvedev said he would like an OSCE mission deployed in South Ossetia, the Kremlin said. Russia sent thousands of troops, tanks and air support into South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia launched an offensive to seize control of the province, which broke from Georgia in the early 1990s. The UN Security Council was set for more talks Monday on a ceasefire call in Georgia after the United States and Russia traded barbs in Cold War-style exchanges. US envoy to Georgia departs WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US State Department has sent senior envoy Matthew Bryza to join European Union representatives attempting to mediate a ceasefire in Georgia's South Ossetia region, department spokesman Robert Wood said Monday. Wood said he believed Bryza, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, departed late Sunday. "He left. He is on his way to the region. I don't have his itinerary." Washington announced Friday it would be sending a representative to the region to participate in EU attempts to halt the fighting between Georgian troops on on side and South Ossetian rebels and the Russian military on the other. The United States is trying to disrupt Russian military operations in Georgia by flying transport planes of Georgian troops into the conflict zone, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday. "I regret that some of our partners are not helping us but in fact are trying to impede us. "I am referring to the US transfer, aboard its military transport planes and directly into the conflict zone, of the Georgian military contingent from Iraq," Putin said in televised remarks. 'No deal with war criminal' BRUSSELS (AFP) - Russia will not deal with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who is now a war criminal, Moscow's ambassador to NATO said Monday. "Saakashvili is no longer a man that we can deal with," Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin told reporters in Brussels. "He must be punished for breaching international law. He is responsible for many war crimes," he added. "Georgian troops have violated international conventions. We are talking of genocide and ethnic cleansing," said Rogozin. "It is a pre-planned genocide," he added, citing the shooting of civilians and the blocking of medical aid. Speaking of a "humanitarian disaster" he said the Georgian military action had left 250 civilians dead and "completely destroyed" the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali. "Russian citizens have been arrested. This is unacceptable," Rogozin added. EU for end to mily action BRUSSELS (AFP) - The European Commission on Monday called on Russia to halt immediately "all military activity on Georgian territory." The commission "is extremely concerned about the violence and bloodshed," in Georgia, commission spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy said. "The latest developments, such as the crossing of the Georgian borders by Russian troops, change the dimension of the conflict," she told reporters in Brussels. "We therefore call upon Russia to stop immediately all military activity on Georgian territory." The EU spokeswoman added that the EU's executive arm was following events "very closely" through contacts on the ground and was in close contact with the French EU presidency and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). European Union foreign ministers will hold a crisis meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Georgia. On Tuesday, Georgia's Foreign Minister Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili was expected in Brussels to hold talks with NATO officials. No justification for action: UK LONDON (AFP) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday there was "no justification" for Russia's military action in Georgia, which he said threatens the stability of the whole region. There is an "immediate and pressing need to end the fighting and disengage all military forces in South Ossetia," he added.  "The Georgian government has offered a ceasefire, which I urge the Russians to reciprocate without delay." "There is no justification for continued Russian military action in Georgia, which threatens the stability of the entire region and risks a humanitarian catastrophe," he said in his first public reaction to the Caucasus crisis. "There is a clear responsibility on the Russian government to bring this conflict quickly to an end. "Continued aggression against Georgia, and especially an escalation of the conflict beyond South Ossetia, will only serve to damage Russia's international reputation and its relations with countries across the globe," he said. He said he had held talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, while Foreign Secretary David Miliband held talks with his Group of Seven (G7) counterparts Monday. "We are committed Bush flays bombing BEIJING (AFP) - US President George W. Bush Monday condemned the Russian military offensive against Georgia, saying the violence in South Ossetia was unacceptable and Moscow's bombing disproportionate. Bush revealed he had strong words with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during last Friday's Olympic Games opening ceremony, when the pair were seen and pictured talking animatedly. "I said this violence is unacceptable," Bush told US broadcaster NBC. "I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia. "I was very firm with Vladimir Putin just like I was firm with the Russian President (Dmitry Medvedev)." Bush made his remarks in a live interview with NBC in Beijing on the final day of his visit to the Chinese capital to watch the Olympics, during which the crisis in the Georgian rebel region of South Ossetia has loomed large. "I hope it can be resolved peacefully," said Bush, whose administration has been a strong supporter of Georgia's pro-Western government and supported efforts to bring the country within NATO, much to Russia's annoyance.