Russians dawdling in Georgia despite pullout agreement

Two days after the Russians agreed to remove their troops from Georgian territory, there is little sign of movement from the Russian military and other signs that they intend to stay for a while:


Two days after President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia promised that the pullout would begin, there were signs of movement, however minor. A platoon of armored infantry moved away from Georgia through the narrow mountain passes on the Russian side of the border. Near the central city of Gori, Russia and Georgia exchanged prisoners, including two Russian pilots who had been shot down by Georgian forces.

Yet a Russian engineering platoon was also building reinforced trenches for a checkpoint just north of Gori, suggesting that Russian troops expected to be in Georgian territory for some time.

Russian armored vehicles held high ground overlooking Gori and Igoeti, and a network of Russian forces took up positions along Georgia's main highway. Some of the troops who on Monday packed their equipment and said they were ready to leave Gori had unpacked and moved back to checkpoints at the city's edge.

You hate to read too much into this but it appears to me that Prime Minister Putin is testing western resolve rather than playing games with the Georgians. Just how far is NATO willing to go to force him to leave Georgia? It's a good question and I don't think anyone really knows the answer to it yet.

Meanwhile, more reports of ethnic cleansing by South Ossetian seperatists:

The men who came to Gulnara Militaura's house seemed to know what they were looking for. They entered her kitchen and shot her husband and his brother in the head. For the next five days, as attacks and looting raged outside, she cowered at home, sprinkling vinegar on the bodies to try to keep them from rotting.

Now that the fighting between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia has subsided, killings like those will be grist for competing claims of ethnic cleansing.



Ms. Militaura, an ethnic Georgian, is accusing South Ossetians, who ally themselves with Russia, of killing her husband and his brother.


There also appears to be some destruction of Georgian villages - another indication of ethnic cleansing.

The media is still not being allowed in where the Russian military is occupying villages and towns. Therefore, we don't really know if the Russians are assisting in this ethnic cleansing or not. Given that there have been problems with
looting and drunkeness among the soldiers, it would not be surprising to find out that the Russians stood by while the paramilitaries murdered civilians. 

Two days after the Russians agreed to remove their troops from Georgian territory, there is little sign of movement from the Russian military and other signs that they intend to stay for a while:


Two days after President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia promised that the pullout would begin, there were signs of movement, however minor. A platoon of armored infantry moved away from Georgia through the narrow mountain passes on the Russian side of the border. Near the central city of Gori, Russia and Georgia exchanged prisoners, including two Russian pilots who had been shot down by Georgian forces.

Yet a Russian engineering platoon was also building reinforced trenches for a checkpoint just north of Gori, suggesting that Russian troops expected to be in Georgian territory for some time.

Russian armored vehicles held high ground overlooking Gori and Igoeti, and a network of Russian forces took up positions along Georgia's main highway. Some of the troops who on Monday packed their equipment and said they were ready to leave Gori had unpacked and moved back to checkpoints at the city's edge.

You hate to read too much into this but it appears to me that Prime Minister Putin is testing western resolve rather than playing games with the Georgians. Just how far is NATO willing to go to force him to leave Georgia? It's a good question and I don't think anyone really knows the answer to it yet.

Meanwhile, more reports of ethnic cleansing by South Ossetian seperatists:

The men who came to Gulnara Militaura's house seemed to know what they were looking for. They entered her kitchen and shot her husband and his brother in the head. For the next five days, as attacks and looting raged outside, she cowered at home, sprinkling vinegar on the bodies to try to keep them from rotting.

Now that the fighting between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia has subsided, killings like those will be grist for competing claims of ethnic cleansing.



Ms. Militaura, an ethnic Georgian, is accusing South Ossetians, who ally themselves with Russia, of killing her husband and his brother.


There also appears to be some destruction of Georgian villages - another indication of ethnic cleansing.

The media is still not being allowed in where the Russian military is occupying villages and towns. Therefore, we don't really know if the Russians are assisting in this ethnic cleansing or not. Given that there have been problems with
looting and drunkeness among the soldiers, it would not be surprising to find out that the Russians stood by while the paramilitaries murdered civilians.