U.S. Helsinki Commission calls on Russia to withdraw troops from Abkhazia and South Ossetia
Georgia , Tbilisi, Aug.11 / Trend, N. Kirtskhalia /
The U.S. Helsinki Commission called on Russia to withdraw all its troops from the occupied Georgian territories entirely. As the U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman, Senator Chris Smith said, Russia must "cease the illegal occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
"Russia must withdraw its troops and allow Georgian refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes ", Senator Smith told"Voice of America."
Senator Ben Cardin further said that Russia should remove its ban and allow the OSCE Mission to work in conflict zones in Georgia.
Military actions were launched in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in August 2008. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia. Later Russian troops occupied the city, driving the Georgian military back to Georgia. Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on Aug. 26, and established diplomatic relations with the regions on Sept. 9, 2008.