08/22/2008, 00.00
RUSSIA – GEORGIA
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Russian pullout from Georgia too slow

Russia’s withdrawal was supposed to be over by today; now it might take another ten days. In any event the Russian military says it wants to maintain a buffer zone around the separatist regions. The UN Security Council remains deadlocked. Abandoned villages go on burning as pillaging continues.
Tbilisi (AsiaNews) – Russian troops are slowing pulling out of Georgia but are set to remain in a buffer zone around the two separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Despite prompting by the international community, Russia’s generals have said that a full withdrawal will take another ten days. Under a deal accepted by Moscow, Russian forces were supposed to be out by today. Instead observers note that in some places Russian troops are actually digging in and setting up road blocks.

Georgian President Saakashvili said that Georgia will never accept any “annexation” of its land by Russia. However, the international community is impotent to do anything.

The Security Council is deadlocked over two resolutions, one by Russia that opposes a rival French text which reaffirms Georgia's territorial integrity.

Moscow has decided to halt all military co-operation with NATO, accusing the latter of defending the “criminal regime” in Tbilisi.

Meanwhile the situation of civilian refugees who fled the war zone remains grim. Even more so is the situation for the scattering of people left in half-empty villages who are without food, medicine or hope to rebuild their lives.

Some journalists have said that in some Georgian villages near the border with South Ossetia fires are still burning today.

In some places Russian soldiers have been accused of pillaging.

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