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Russian pullout becomes pullback

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Russian pullout becomes pullback

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So have the Russians left Georgia, or not? People who normally live in the buffer zone Russia has unilaterally set up are dismayed to see armour digging in instead of heading off back into south Osettia.

There are reports of protests coming in wherever people return to their homes to find Russian checkpoints set up not far away in places they are supposed to have vacated. Georgia and its allies are complaining some of these positions have nothing to do with south Ossetia or Abkhazia, the two majority-Russian enclaves Moscow has pledged to support.

The Russian military appears to be maintaining its blockade of Georgia’s main east-west motorway route, and retains control of the port of Poti, far from Abkhazia but deemed a threat. It was Georgia’s main naval base, but the navy lies in ruins sunk at its moorings.

The parliament has renewed the state of emergency faced with the non-withdrawal of so many Russian units, and tension is high with other reports of explosions in one town.

While it is clear much of the vastly superior Russian invasion force has pulled out, enough remains to be more than a nuisance, and it appears Georgia will now have to bargain hard to remove every single remaining soldier.