Russian peacekeepers prepare for pullout from Georgia

October 3rd, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Oct 3 (RIA Novosti) Russian peacekeepers are preparing to withdraw from Georgian buffer zones bordering the breakaway province of South Ossetia in line with international agreements, a senior military official said Friday. Under the agreement, brokered by the European Union (EU) last month, Russia has pledged to pull all troops out of the undisputed parts of Georgia within one month, leaving peacekeepers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russia has agreed to pull all its remaining peacekeepers out of the area by Oct 10.

“All diplomatic agreements on the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from Georgian buffer zones, bordering South Ossetia, will be implemented on time,” Lt. Col. Vitaly Manushko, a spokesman for the peacekeeping forces, said.

Moscow launched a five-day military operation to “force Georgia to accept peace” after Tbilisi attacked South Ossetia on Aug 8 in an attempt to regain control over the breakaway province that had split from Georgia in the early 1990s. A number of Russian peacekeepers and about 1,600 South Ossetian residents lost their lives during the conflict.

Russia’s response to the Georgian attack was called disproportionate by a number of Western powers.

On Aug 26, Russia drew further criticism when it recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian republic, as independent states. So far, only Nicaragua has followed suit.

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