Russian troops have pulled out from around Poti, Georgia’s key Black sea port, and a generalised pullout appears underway. With two days to go before the expiry of phase one of the French-brokered withdrawal, it appears all the Russian positions are being dismantled and vacated.
Georgia has welcomed the move, but added it hoped a full withrawal from all Georgian territory not part of South Ossetia and Abkhazia would be complete as agreed by October 10.
Over 7,500 Russian troops will now be based in the two self-declared independent states. Skirmishes are breaking out during the pullback. A Georgian policeman has been killed near Abkhazia.
The EU says it has its 20-strong contingent of an international monitoring force ready to go for the October deadline. They will join several monitoring groups already deployed, from the UN and OSCE, but the EU force’s mandate is already under dispute.