Russian troops have withdrawn from the Georgian port of Poti on the Black Sea coast in the first phase of a pullout brokered by France. They have also been dismantling various camps and checkpoints they established elsewhere in Western Georgia, after a brief war erupted early in August over the region of South Ossetia.
The Russian army had pushed deep into Georgian territory after repelling a military attempt by Tbilisi to re-take the separatist, pro-Moscow South Ossetia. Russia has since recognised it, and breakaway Abkhazia, as independent nations.
The Kremlin claimed it was morally obliged to send in its forces last month to prevent what it called a genocide in both regions by Georgia, egged on by its ally, America.
President Medvedev said: “Almost immediately after the events in the Caucasus it occurred to me that August 8 was for us almost what 9/11 was for the United States. The USA and the whole world have learned many useful lessons from the events of September 11. We would also like the world to learn lessons from August 8.”
A statement from the Kremlin says the military pull-out depends on the deployment of an international monitoring force, which includes a 200-strong unit from the EU.