This is a good primer on what Russia's been up to for the last eighteen years.
The Holy Father commented yesterday. This is part of the CWN article:
In his reference to the conflict, Pope Benedict remarked that the violence had already caused the deaths of innocent civilians, and forced many more to flee their homes. The fighting could escalate if it continues, the Pontiff added.
Making an appeal to the "shared Christian heritage" of Georgia and Russia-- both predominantly Orthodox nations-- the Pope promised that Catholics would pray for a quick resolution of the conflict.
He also asked international leaders to "make every effort to support and promote initiatives aimed at reaching a peaceful and lasting solution."