Russia Pulls Out Early

Russian troops are in the process of leaving the controversial buffer zones inside Georgia, allegedly created to protect the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgian military attacks. The exit, two days ahead of a Friday deadline, will still leave 8,000 Russian troops in the two regions, which Moscow has recognized as independent states.

The BBC:

Georgia says Russian troops have left “buffer zones” inside its territory adjacent to its breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Moscow has not confirmed the move but President Dmitry Medvedev said the pullback would be complete by midnight, well ahead of a Friday deadline.

Russia’s foreign minister said an EU mission monitoring the pullout would be excluded from the disputed regions.

Russia plans to keep nearly 8,000 troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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