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Russia starts long awaited withdrawal from Georgia

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Russia starts long awaited withdrawal from Georgia

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After months of tough talks, Russia has finally started to withdraw its troops from Georgia. Their departure from a base at Batumi was toasted with champagne by locals. For those who backed Georgia’s Rose Revolution, Moscow’s continued military presence was a large and uncomfortable reminder of their former Soviet rulers. Rows over borders and bitter disputes over the status of breakaway regions have soured relations between the two countries for decades. Back in March, Georgian MPs voted unanimously to outlaw Russia’s military presence in the country unless Moscow withdrew its soldiers by January 2006. They threatened to declare its two bases illegal and stop issuing entry visas to Russian troops if they failed to withdraw. Moscow says its drivers still do not have papers to re-enter and remove military hardware but talks are ongoing to resolve the problem.