U.S. President George Bush says Russia is not complying with a cease-fire deal to pull back troops in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The statement from the White House comes as Russian officials say their forces have completed their withdrawal under a French-mediated accord. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has more from Washington.
U.S. National Security Council Spokesman Gordon Johndroe says President Bush telephoned French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Friday to discuss the movement of Russian troops in Georgia. "The two agreed that Russia is not in compliance and that Russia needs to come into compliance now," he said.
Russia says it is complying with the French-brokered cease-fire and has withdrawn troops to a security zone surrounding the breakaway republic of South Ossetia.
Johndroe says the White House has seen that announcement and is continuing to monitor the situation, but that it does not believe Russia is meeting its obligations. "They have not completely withdrawn from areas considered undisputed territory, and they need to do that," he said.
Georgian troops entered South Ossetia earlier this month after they say they came under attack from separatists there. Russia responded with a counter-attack that extended beyond South Ossetia to the Black Sea port of Poti.
U.S. Defense Department Spokesman Bryan Whitman says there has been some minor movement of Russian forces, but it is difficult to determine whether that is a withdrawal or a repositioning of troops.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev had promised to have his troops out by Friday. But the top commander of Russian land forces says he will need another 10 days to complete the withdrawal.
U.S. officials say Russian checkpoints around Poti, along Georgia's main east-west highway, and in a security zone around South Ossetia are not part of the French accord.
Johndroe again called for Russia to return to positions held before the war began. "They had Russian peace keepers in South Ossetia prior to August the 6th. The agreement allows for those Russian peacekeepers to remain in South Ossetia. Anything that rolled in after August the 6th needs to leave," he said.
In the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, the Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, U.S. General John Craddock, told reporters that Russia is leaving Georgia at "a snail's pace."