Musa Sadulayev/AP
A column of Russian tanks rolls near the town of Dzhava in the separatist Georgian
province of South Ossetia, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2008. (AP)

Russia Says it Will Start Georgian Pullout Today

August 18, 2008 08:05 AM
by Josh Katz
Russia has indicated that it will begin withdrawing troops from the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia today.

30-Second Summary

The office of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has indicated that Russia will begin pulling out of South Ossetia region.

Although President Dmitry Medvedev signed a ceasefire agreement on Saturday, it was unclear when Russia would leave the country, and Georgian officials claimed that Russia continued military action against them, including blowing up a vital railway line outside of the capital of Tbilisi. Russia has denied this accusation.

Analysts also believe that Russia will “absorb Abkhazia and South Ossetia into the Russian Federation—possibly within days. Both territories are likely to hold referendums calling for a formal association with Russia.”

On August 7, Georgia responded to opposition in South Ossetia by launching a military offensive to assert control over the region. Russia says it sent in its military to defend Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia after several died in the Georgian offensive.

During the five-day conflict, Russia earned international criticism for bombing the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and launched air strikes on the Georgian military and transportation center of Gori, where Russian troops are amassing, in addition to battling the Georigan military in South Ossetia where the fighting began.

On Russian television, Medvedev said his military had punished Georgia for its aggressive actions and had protected civilians and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia.

The conflict stems from the separatist unrest Georgia faced in Abkhazia and South Ossetia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1993, Georgian troops were forced out of the region, and Russia has tacitly supported Georgian opposition movements ever since. Russia has also pressured other members of NATO to deny Georgia membership.

Headline Links: ‘Attacks on Georgia continue despite Russian president’s calls to halt’

Russia says it will withdraw
Recent Developments

Background: Tensions between Georgia and Russia mount in April

Opinion & Analysis: How serious is the conflict?

Related Topics: Russia upset over U.S. missile defense plans; the ‘color revolutions’

Reference: Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia


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