Russia's defense minister says his country's forces have completed
their withdrawal from Georgia under a French-mediated cease-fire,
leaving only troops manning a security zone in the Caucasus country.
Anatoly Serdyukov issued his statement Friday after journalists
confirmed the departure of columns of trucks and armor heading north
toward Georgia's breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
top Russian general in Moscow, General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said the
country's troops will maintain 18 checkpoints in a security zone around
South Ossetia, which includes the airport near the town of Senaki.
the extent of Russia's final withdrawal remains unclear, as Russian
military officials say their troops will maintain checkpoints along
Georgia's main east-west highway.
In Washington, State
Department spokesman Robert Wood confirmed that Russian forces have
begun leaving Georgia. But he said that, without a doubt, the Russians
are failing to adhere to the French-mediated cease-fire agreement. He
cited the establishment of checkpoints and the security zone as
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had pledged to
have the troops out by Friday evening. But Thursday, the top commander
of Russia's land forces, General Vladimir Boldyrev, said his forces
will need about 10 days to complete their withdrawal.
Tbilisi, U.S. General John Craddock, NATO's supreme allied commander,
told reporters the Russian departure from Georgia is proceeding at "a
U.S. President George Bush told Georgian
President Mikheil Saakashvili Thursday that the United States is
looking for Russia to comply with the agreement to withdraw, and to end
what Mr. Bush called Russia's "siege" of Georgia.
move into South Ossetia earlier this month triggered a massive Russian
military response, with Moscow sending scores of tanks and thousands of
troops into Georgia.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.