Russian forces begin pulling out of Georgia today. That is the promise, and the Georgians want international monitors to keep an eye on things.
No firm deadline for an end to military operations has been given, and the international community has been reminding Moscow that it is watching, led by Georgia’s European neighbours, and the United States’s Condoleezza Rice on Sunday:
“The word of the Russian president needs to be upheld by his forces. People are going to begin to wonder if Russia can be trusted. I think it’s really very much time for them to do what they say they’re going to do” she said.
Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel visited Tbilisi yesterday to urge Russia to quickly pull out and fully respect all six points of the French-brokered peace deal.
“The signings occurred yesterday and in this respect I expect a quick withdrawal of the Russian troops, which unfortunately, according to my information, has until now still not been implemented as we expected it,” she insisted.
But 10 days after the tanks rolled in the city of Gori and other towns and villages remain firmly in Russian control, well beyond the borders of south Ossetia. A UN aid convoy reported little damage in Gori but shops and homes appeared extensively looted.
Sunday services in Tbilisi were unusually sombre this weekend. Many candles were lit for loved ones lost, or far away.