Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin - Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions?

Read more

FOCUS

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users show solidarity with Iraqi Christians

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Gilles Kepel, Islamic and Arab world specialist

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina braced for another debt default

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Too Late for Sanctions? Pressure Mounts on Russia over Ukraine

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'What would you do?'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: Liberia shuts most border points

Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

  • EU broadens sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Calls mount to ban France’s ‘violent’ Jewish Defence League

    Read more

  • France extradites suspected Jewish Museum shooter to Belgium

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs born in French zoo

    Read more

  • France evacuates its nationals from Libya

    Read more

  • Israeli strikes target symbols of Hamas power

    Read more

  • US says Russia violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile

    Read more

  • Argentina in last-ditch effort to avert default

    Read more

  • Karzai’s cousin killed in Afghan suicide attack

    Read more

  • Libya oil tanker fire blazes out of control

    Read more

  • In pictures: From Gaza to Mosul, bittersweet end of Ramadan for Muslims

    Read more

  • Moroccan police arrest French al Qaeda recruiter

    Read more

  • French mayor files complaint against US father who risked kids’ lives on Mont Blanc

    Read more

  • French footballer Griezmann headed to Atletico Madrid

    Read more

Russia says troop withdrawal has begun

Latest update : 2008-08-19

General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said Russian military started withdrawing its soldiers on Monday, but FRANCE 24's Robert Parsons in Tbilisi reports that Russian troops are digging in further into Georgian territory.

Watch a FRANCE 24 exclusive: South Ossetian refugees return to battered Tskhinvali

 

 

Neither Georgian authorities nor foreign journalists reporting from Georgia have recorded any sign that Russian troops were effectively pulling out of the country on Monday, despite Russia’s assurance that it had begun moving out its soldiers.

“They’re going nowhere,” says Robert Parsons, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Tbilisi. “I’ve heard that they withdrew from Poti – a Georgian port on the Black Sea – but they’ve withdrawn from Poti five times already and gone back five times. So the simple fact that they moved down the road means absolutely nothing.”

Parsons said that Russian troops were still stationed in the areas of Gori and Kaspi, northwest of Tbilisi. “I asked Russian soldiers, and they told me that they had no instructions to go anywhere,” he added.


There is a distinction between pullout and withdrawal

In a briefing on Russian operations in Georgia, Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy head of Russia's General Staff, claimed that the pullout of Russian “peacekeeping forces” had started Monday.

But he drew the line between “the notion of withdrawal and that of pullout. We are not talking about withdrawal here,” Nogovitsyn said.

There were persistent signs Monday that the Russian grip on Georgia was still tight.

Two Russian tanks were filmed by Georgian television ploughing through a barrage of Georgian police cars at a checkpoint about 30 kilometres from the capital Tbilisi, breaking the conditions of the six-point peace agreement signed by the Moscow Saturday.

“It sounds as if the Russians were deliberately trying to escalate the tensions,” Parsons said.

American defence officials said Monday that Russia had moved short-range SS-21 missiles into South Ossetia that should be capable of targeting the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

The United States and Georgia both accused Moscow of consolidating their positions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and of bringing in more troops and equipment.


NATO holds emergency meeting Tuesday

Meanwhile the international community is keeping up the pressure on Russia. The US called for an emergency meeting of NATO foreign ministers Tuesday to review ties with Moscow.
 
The ministers are also expected to reaffirm NATO’s commitment to study Georgian membership, as pledged at an April summit in Bucharest, and to approve a package of measures to support Georgia.

The Russian envoy to NATO warned that if NATO’s decision was not “in line with the reality”, Russia would not be able to maintain the quality of its cooperation with NATO the way it had so far. “We hope it will be balanced,” Dmitry Rogozin added.

Date created : 2008-08-19

COMMENT(S)