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Russia promises pull-out from Georgian buffer zone

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Russia promises pull-out from Georgian buffer zone


A top general says Russian forces will begin to withdraw from a buffer zone in Georgia on Wednesday and should be out within 24 hours.

Russia must pull out of territory surrounding the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Friday, under the terms of an EU-brokered ceasefire agreed after its month-long conflict with Georgia in August.

Russia plans to station more than 7,000 soldiers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which it has recognized as independent states.

EU monitors will be on hand to make sure Russia keeps to the deadline for withdrawal.

Georgian police are due to move in behind the retreating Russian forces, to avoid a security vacuum the unarmed EU observers fear could be exploited by militias active in the region.

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