Moscow says its soldiers are likely to stay in South Ossetia and Abkhazia for a long time, a day after agreeing to a deal to pull troops out of Georgia proper.
It follows a short-lived war last month when Russia crushed an attempt by Georgia to retake the separatist region of South Ossetia – a conflict which then spread to the breakway region of Abkhazia.
One of only two countries in the world to recognise the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia still has troops deployed deep inside Georgia.
Yesterday, EU President France won a commitment from Moscow that it would withdraw its forces within a month, and that a 200-strong EU monitoring contingent would be deployed there instead.
The accord was welcomed by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who described it as “a step forward”.
But Moscow insists South Osetia and Abkhazia take part in talks scheduled next month in Geneva to discuss the situation in the volatile region.
Russian troops could stay in Georgia regions "for a long time"