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Russia: Troop Withdrawal Will Take Time

From their champions at Reuters:

A local resident looks at a [Russian] destroyed bridge on the main railway link between Eastern and Western Georgia, near the town of Kaspi, 31 miles west of Tbilisi, August 16, 2008.

Russia signs Georgia deal but says withdrawal to take time

By Oleg Shchedrov and Matt Robinson

SOCHI/TBILISI (Reuters) – Russia signed a peace deal to end the conflict in Georgia on Saturday but said “extra security measures” were needed before a withdrawal could begin.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, working from the Black Sea resort of Sochi, added his signature to a French-led peace plan already endorsed by Georgia and by leaders of the two rebel regions at the heart of the conflict…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said withdrawal would depend on the extra security measures ordered by Medvedev, the nature of which was not made clear. Asked how long the withdrawal might take, Lavrov told reporters: “This does not just depend on us” and blamed the difficult situation on the ground for delays

Russian troops withdrew from an area 45 kilometers (30 miles) from the Georgian capital on Saturday afternoon and a foreign military observer said it appeared a partial pullout might be under way, although that was not officially confirmed…

Georgia accused Russian troops of severing the country’s main east-west train link on Saturday by blowing up a railway bridge in broad daylight. Russia’s General Staff denied attacking the bridge, saying it regarded hostilities as over.

One end of the bridge, near the town of Kaspi, lay collapsed on the riverbank in a pile of rubble and twisted steel, Reuters television pictures showed…

A Reuters television crew interviewed villagers who said men in military uniform arrived by jeep, uncoiled wires and detonated a device remotely, blowing out nearby house windows.

The villagers blamed Russian forces but the identity of the attackers could not immediately be verified…

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili signed the ceasefire on Friday after a five-hour meeting with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Speaking afterwards, he denounced Russians as “21st century barbarians.”

Russian forces continued to move around in parts of Georgia far outside the separatist areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia where they maintain peacekeeping forces.

In the Georgian Black Sea port of Poti, witnesses said Russian troops had carried off crates and equipment in trucks and helicopters from the port and airport.

“They carried out everything they could take,” a local resident, Tengiz Khukhia, told Reuters. “They loaded it onto the helicopters and took it straight away.” …

It takes a lot of time to pull out of areas you claim you never were in the first place.

Still, look at how quickly the Russians made their promised exit from Eastern Europe after WWII.

It only took them fifty years or so.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, August 16th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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