Accessibility links

Russia General Says Troops Will Remain in Georgia


A top Russian general says his forces will remain in parts of Georgia, and he accuses Tbilisi of preparing a new wave of attacks in South Ossetia.

Russian General Anatoly Nogovitsyn told reporters in Moscow Saturday that his country's forces will continue to patrol the Black Sea port city of Poti, as well as other areas that lie outside a designated security zone.

Nogovitsyn also warned that Russia could increase the size of its force in Georgia if the United States begins to help Georgia rebuild its military.

The Russian general defended Russia's actions, saying they were in agreement with the terms of a French-brokered cease-fire. He also accused Georgia's special services of preparing further actions in South Ossetia.

Earlier, Georgian officials and witnesses said Russian forces are still entrenched north of the key city of Gori and near the town of Senaki.

Hundreds of Georgians have been taking to the streets to express their unhappiness with Russia's continued presence, waving flags near Russian posts in Gori and Poti.

The Georgian parliament voted unanimously Saturday to extend emergency wartime powers for President Mikheil Saakashvili for another 15 days.

Meanwhile, the leader of South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, says he will visit Moscow Saturday.

Kokoity says he will ask Russia to recognize South Ossetia's independence.

The latest developments have again put Russia at odds with the West.

U.S. President George Bush and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, spoke by telephone Friday, and criticized Russia for failing to comply with the French-brokered cease-fire agreement. Russian officials, including Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, insist the withdrawal from Georgia complies with deal.

The Georgian military move into South Ossetia earlier this month triggered a massive Russian 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.

XS
SM
MD
LG