Georgian security forces have been re-establishing control over parts of their country relinquished by Russian troops, as part of a withdrawal slammed as insufficient by the West.
Police convoys moved in to the town of Gori in the wake of the Russian military pullout. It had been occupied since Moscow’s forces stormed into the country in response to Georgia’s doomed attempt to recapture the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Russia denies it is in breach of a French-brokered ceasefire deal. One senior Russian commander said military checkpoints being set-up within Georgia were part of the agreement, though the US, France and Georgia dispute this. Moscow says it intends to maintain 18 checkpoints in two buffer zones across the country.
The American and French leaders have already voiced their concerns. A White House spokesman said: “The President spoke by phone to French President Sarkozy. They also shared assessments on the situation in Georgia. The two agreed that Russia is not in compliance and that Russia needs to come into compliance now.”
Amid this dispute people have been returning to Gori and other areas hit hard by the conflict. Some have expressed fears that with Russia maintaining a presence in Georgia the soldiers might return.