The group overseeing the ceasefire between Russia and Georgia is to start pulling out on January 1st. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – the OSCE – is being forced to leave Georgia as Russia has blocked a proposal to extend its mission. In response, the Georgian government accused Moscow of wanting to hide war crimes.Russia says the OSCE has a right to be in Georgia, but not in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia or Abkhazia. The mission has been barred from South Ossetia since August. It has come under fire several times since the war between Georgia and Russia in August, and tensions on the border remain high. The Russian government blames the breakdown of negotiations with the OSCE on a Western refusal to accept that South Ossetia is an independent state. The OSCE pull-out will take several months, and negotiations on a new mandate are expected to resume in the New Year.