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Russian troops still entrenched in Georgia

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Russian troops on Saturday continued manning positions deep inside Georgia, keeping a grip on a strategic port, as Europe pressed Moscow to pull back further and allow international observers.

Russia withdrew tanks, artillery and hundreds of troops from the heart of Georgia on Friday, saying it had now fufilled all obligations under a French-brokered agreement aimed at ending the two-week-old conflict.

But Russian troops were still controlling access to the western port of Poti and also established a checkpoint just 10 kilometers north of the key city of Gori.

Acting as chair of the European Union, French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to withdraw his forces from a key road linking Poti to Senaki, in western Georgia, his office said in Paris.

Sarkozy and Medvedev agreed during a telephone conversation on the need for an "international mechanism" in the area south of the breakaway republic of South Ossetia, a statement said.

The Kremlin separately said it was ready to cooperate with the European security body, the OSCE, to monitor a buffer zone near South Ossetia.

The West sees the presence of military monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe as critical to ensuring the success of the EU-brokered ceasefire that ended fighting between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia.

France joined Britain, the United States, NATO and other Western powers to demand Russia pull back further from Georgian territory but a top Russian general earlier rejected the criticism.

"All activities of the Russian peacekeeping contingent are based on the six principles that were signed in agreement by the presidents of Russia and France," said General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, in Moscow.

He said Russian trorops would patrol and keep control over Poti, Georgia's main commercial port.

Russian troops first poured into Georgia on Aug 8 to repel a Georgian assault on the breakaway region of South Ossetia, smashing the country's small US-trained army.

They then fanned out through Abkhazia, another pro-Moscow breakaway region on the Black Sea, and far into the Georgian heartland.

Russian soldiers backed up by four tanks were still in place on a bridge on the road heading from Poti to the city of Senaki further east and Batumi to the south.

Some 500 Georgians expressed outrage over the continued presence of Russian troops in Poti, going up to the post waving Georgian flags and shouting "Russians go home!"

"They want to keep these checkpoints, as we know, but they have no legal basis for it," Georgian National Security Council secretary Alexander Lomaia said.

Two Russian armoured vehicles and lorries were Saturday still controlling a checkpoint in the village of Karaleti outside Gori on the road to the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali.

The troops, whose uniform was marked with the insignia of peacekeepers, were not letting traffic further north without Russian military accreditation. They had erected concrete roadblocks and fenced off the area with razor-wire.

Georgian police on Friday retook control of Gori and by Saturday afternoon there were no Russian checkpoints remaining on the east-west highway between Tbilisi and the central city of Khashuri.

Moscow retains full control of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and says it has the right to establish an "area of responsibility" far beyond taking in stretches of the highway linking Tbilisi to Poti.

US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez warned Russia that its behaviour in Georgia had put at risk its place among the Group of Eight industrialized nations as well as its accession to the World Trade Organization.

"Until now, the U.S. supported Russia's integration in the world community. We have admitted Russia to the Group of Eight and we have saluted and encouraged its wish to join the WTO," Gutierrez told German weekly Der Spiegel.

"All this is now at stake."

NATO also insisted that Russian forces must retreat to pre-conflict positions. "Our position is that they should pull out to the sixth of August positions," the alliance's spokeswoman Carmen Romero said.

The speedy military victory over Georgia, which is pressing for membership of NATO, stunned Western powers and plunged relations between Russia and the West to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

The latest focus of international tension was the Black Sea, where NATO naval exercises are taking place and a US destroyer was due to arrive Sunday in Georgia with what the Pentagon says are humanitarian aid supplies.

With its army humiliated and Russian troops openly shielding the separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia looks increasingly unlikely to recover its territory.

Russia's two houses of parliament were due Monday to discuss appeals from South Ossetia and Abkhazia for recognition from Moscow of their independence.

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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"They want to keep these checkpoints, as we know, but they have no legal basis for it," Get over it, Georgia. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. And this law is being enforced.

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The Russians have sadly begun to return to Soviet ways of using aggression to achieve their aims. They are communists but under a different name. Georgia must be free from the aggressor. The US must make it clear NOW, that we will not stand by and watch this aggression continue. Russia, you are playing with fire, cease at once.

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Sushi - Do you think Russian troops should be entrenched in Georgia?

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I agree with StealthBomber.

Russia must not aspire to colonise its neighbours as the Soviets did.

Bush and Condi must be firm with Russia and spell out the consequences of their actions, that is bif they do not stop.

Russia must stop its aggressive methods of dealing with problems.

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So theneworder666, what are the consequences? What is condi and george bush going to tell Russia if they don't comply? What great power do we have that will influence Russia to comply?

Russia will get out on their own good time and nothing george bush or condi rice can say that will change that. < :-)

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adaydream- We have the strongest military force in the world. The Russians are aware of this. If we warn them Russia will understand the severity of their actions.

The US will not tolerate thugs who attack innocent nations and kill civilians.

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They had erected concrete roadblocks and fenced off the area with razor-wire.

Welcome back, 1985!

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We don't have enough military to handle Iraq and Afghanistan as it is.

No matter how strong and well equiped the United States military should be, we don't have a military that large. Where you getting the bodies? Who's paying for this great military force you think we have?

So beside this mythical military you think george bush will sic on Russia, what else is she and he going to threaten Russia with? < :-)

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adaydream- We are using a minute amount of our forces at present. We have huge reserves.

The Russians know we can whip them in a conflict. They have aging equipment and poorly trained troops. They couldn`t even control Afghanistan in the Soviet era when they were stronger than now.

Don`t worry Russia will leave Georgia, they are just showboating, because they look foolish.

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USA and Russia can - or are willing to - fight with each other directly, only if they nuke each other. Is a war over Georgia worth nuking each other and the rest of world to Armageddon? I doubt it.

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Where do you guys come from?

We had to go to 15 month tours because we didn't have the numbers of troops needed in the military needed as it is.

But we were just using a minute number of our military. You so sadly mistaken. < :-)

Moderator: Back on topic please.

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adaydream- Troop rotation does not mean we don`t have enough military.

We need certain people in reserve in case there is another conflict.

Don`t worry, we are well protected. Russia knows this, thus they comply.

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Believe me.....

The US can engage another combatant if needed. Former Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld worked diligently to create a military force that can fight TWO major conflicts (east and west coasts) simultaneously, and the spending for military armaments in the last six years are telling. I am on the West Coast, and believe me, something is here. Most of this is available on the internet.

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last I checked USA have been in Afghanistan for 7 years and it is still not under control and that is with the help of Afghan troops.

This "my dad is better than your dad" argument is getting really old, everybody get out of the sandbox and into your corner.

Everybody should stop defending their country as we are all just a number to them, little pawns in a game that we know nothing about.

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It was Georgia that started the attack. Agression was made by the Georgian army first. The reason of this conflict is the weapon deal of Israel to Georgia. It’s like Russia sells many sophisticated weapons and military installation in Mexico.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3580136,00.html

War in Georgia: The Israeli connection For past seven years, Israeli companies have been helping Gerogian army to preparer for war against Russia through arms deals, training of infantry units and security advice Arie Egozi Latest Update: 08.10.08, 11:53 / Israel News

Moderator: The URL will suffice.

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Like I stated last weekend, Russia will leave when they get ready.

The United States will.......will do what?

Russia will just go to China and Venezuela and other countries to get from them what they don't get from the United States.

We're going to do what to Russia?

Russia is right where they want to be. And they will be holding on to it for...well till they get ready to leave. Not until then. < :-)

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adaydream; With respect, Russia will leave when the pressure is so strong from the US, that it has no other option. Russia will leave under our terms, not theirs, and they know it.

FF

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We'll see FreedomFries. I wouldn't bet on their soon departure.

What pressure can the US put on China? < :-)

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My bust Freedom Fries. What pressure can the US put on Russia. < :-)

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adaydream; The US can pressure Russia by threatening to put military hardware on Russian borders. We can put a ring of steel around western Russian to ensure a repeat does not occur. Sure, it is going to cast money, and i would be wiling to pay more tax to ensure another Soviet block never happens again.

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FreedomFries - We've already got big plans to put more military hardware on the border. The new agreements between the US and Poland and the Czech Rep. And this has just pissed them off. There is Isreal giving aid to Georgia and that has pissed them off. (Pissed me off also, I don't want to give Isreal money anyway, then they give our money to Georgia. That's not why we gave it to them.)

Steel ring, huh? You mean like the Iron Curtain? That didn't work before. So what country do we go to to put our weapons into next?

I'm not for putting all our money into weapons to push Russia. There is health aid at home. There is our national debt. There is the highest rate of unemployment we've seen in decades. Factories going under. The energy crisis. We have too many things at home to put all our money into weapons systems that may or may not agitate Russia enough to attack someone else.

We used to play friendly and we had much better relations with the world. The last few years we've played bully on the block and it's gotten us...._WHAT__? < :-)

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adaydream- Don`t worry buddy, our economy is doing mighty fine. A few conspiracy theory types talk about a doom and gloom futre. It is not going to happen.

We should annoy the Russians, the threat of forcr, i sthe only method of diplomacy they understand. With the knowledge that the US could blow them off the map at anytime, they dare not colonise their neighbours again.

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Well FreedomFries - Wait a little while and I'll ask you again about this. You're cowboy mentality is what got us here. So I pray that we don't follow your path of thinking.

Have a good day. < :-)

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Almost 3 weeks and the real imperialists in this world still getting a free pass from the Left...

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Sorry daydream but Russia isn't going to control countries like Georgia no matter how much you want them to.

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Go on, daydream, explain how Russia's unqualified support for Mugabe and Iran is also a result of US policy in the Baltic and E Europe...

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The Russians will stay in Georgia until Saskashvili is replaced by a more pro Russian president. Saskashivili overplayed is hand, and the hysterical screaming of the NATO and the EU is pure hypocricy. Where was their respect for national integrity when they brutalized Serbia?

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