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Western Leaders Say Russia Pullout from Georgia Not Fast Enough


Russian military trucks have started to inch their way back into Russia, but Western leaders said Wednesday that the movement from Georgia to positions agreed upon in a ceasefire accord was too limited and slow. And in Moscow, leaders were getting ready to hold discussions on whether to officially recognize Georgia's breakaway regions, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, around which this conflict has been based. Emma Stickgold has this report for the VOA from Moscow.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev has said that all but 500 troops will be out of Georgia by Friday, but many Western governments asked Russia to step up their efforts to remove the troops in accordance with the French-brokered ceasefire agreement signed by both Georgia and Russia.

General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the deputy head of Russia's General Staff, outlined some of the details of what is being called a "temporary security zone" bordering South Ossetia at his daily news conference Wednesday.

He said the "buffer zone" will feature eight military posts, and only Russian planes will be allowed to fly overhead.

Russian troops will also be stationed near Abkhazia, with Georgia's Senaki air base within the zone of their patrol, he said.

He also accused Georgia's political leadership of not being ready to give up its "aggressive intentions."

Nogovitsyn said Georgia is regrouping and breathing new life into its military forces to prepare for a new round of aggression.

Meanwhile, leaders of Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, announced they would hold an emergency session Monday to review a request from Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be recognized as independent states.

Mr. Medvedev has said Russia will look to the breakaway regions to determine their own fate.

Billboards outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow showed images of the Russian and South Ossetian flags intertwined, and proclaimed, "Tskhivali, We Are Together" referring to the capital of South Ossetia.

Georgia has refused to give up the territories, launching an attack earlier this month in an attempt to bring South Ossetia under its control, prompting a military response from Russia that Western leaders called "disproportionate."

Finance ministers from the top seven industrialized countries issued a statement Wednesday saying that they are "ready to support" the reconstruction of Georgia's economy.

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