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Pentagon Sees No Significant Russian Movement Out of Georgia


Officials at the Pentagon have seen no indication that Russian forces are making any significant moves to withdraw from Georgia, as Russia's leaders promised when they signed a cease-fire agreement on Saturday. The White House says it should not take Russia any longer to withdraw its troops than it took to send them in. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman says Defense Department experts "don't see much change" in the deployment of Russian forces in Georgia.

"The Russian forces that were not there prior to August 6, that were part of the peacekeeping mission, the agreement calls for them to be withdrawn out of Georgia. So far, we have not seen any significant movement," said Whitman.

Whitman says NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels made clear that European countries will re-evaluate their ties with Russia as a result of its invasion of Georgia. U.S. officials have said the consequences Russia will face will depend partly on whether it abides by the cease-fire agreement and withdraws its forces.

White House Spokesman Gordon Johndroe says that should not take several days.

"It didn't take them, really, three or four days to get into Georgia. And it really shouldn't take them three or four days to get out. So, I would expect them to begin an immediate withdrawal, which is their commitment. We want them to honor their commitment," said Johndroe.

The White House spokesman says all the Russian forces sent into Georgia after August sixth must leave, and there will have to be negotiations on the long-term status of Russian troops, who have been stationed in Georgia's separatist region of South Ossetia for years as peacekeepers.

Meanwhile, the U.S. relief effort continues. Bryan Whitman at the Pentagon says U.S. negotiators are working with Turkish officials to get clearance to send one or more Navy ships into the Black Sea to deliver relief supplies to Georgia. Turkey controls access to the Sea by warships under a 1936 treaty.

Whitman reports U.S. aid deliveries to Georgia by air have reached nearly 200 metric tons - mainly tents, bedding, food and medical supplies.

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