Russia withdraws from Georgia

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

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The above file photo (2004) shows a sniper taking aim at Ossetian rebels in South Ossetia to allow the Georgian Army forces to move forward Photograph: Jonathan Alpeyrie

Dmitry Medvedev, the President of Russia, announced the end of Russian military operations in Georgia. In a statement made earlier today, Medvedev declared that the reason for Russia to cease operations was the humanitarian crisis in the region.

A Kremlin spokesman confirmed the instructions to the Defense Ministry to stop the military operation. The news came only hours before the presidents of Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia were scheduled to visit Tbilisi, and the president of France was to visit Moscow. Also the prime minister of Latvia is planned to visit Tbilisi later today.

Just before the announcement there were reports of the Russian forces bombing the Georgian town of Gori. The declaration of the Kremlin puts an end to the four-day Russian offensive inside Georgia.

On August 7, following days of fire exchange with South Ossetian separatist units, Georgia launched an offensive against Tskhinvali, the capital of the region. The next day Russian forces entered Georgia and began to bomb targets in the country.

On August 10, the Russian Black Sea Fleet began a naval blockade of the Poti Georgian port and landed several thousand Russian troops in Abkhazia in western Georgia. Ukraine threatened to bar Russian warships dispatched to the Abkhazian coast from returning to their Ukrainian base of Sevastopol if they were to engage in any military action.