Uncertain of how its continuing occupation of large areas of Georgian territory is being viewed in the outside world more than a month after the signing of a peace agreement, and in a sign that concerted EU pressure may be having some effect after all, Russia has decided to withdraw its troops from the area of the Georgian port of Poti. AP reports that
Russian soldiers and armored vehicles rolled out of six checkpoints and temporary bases in the Black Sea port of Poti and other areas nearby, Georgian Security Council chief Alexander Lomaia said.
“They have fulfilled the commitment” to withdraw from the area by Sept. 15 under an agreement European Union leaders reached with Russia last week, Lomaia told The Associated Press.
But he stressed that Georgia — like the West — demands a full Russian withdrawal to pre-conflict positions, in accordance with a cease-fire deal brokered by the European Union a month ago.
As if to underline the tensions that still remain, news has emerged from the same AP report that a Georgian police officer was shot and killed at as checkpoint on the Abkhazian border today. The shots are reported to have came from the direction of a location where both Abkhazian and Russian forces are based.