Report: Russia troops open road to Gori

Georgia Materials 18 August 2008 16:54 (UTC +04:00)

Russian troops had re-opened from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi to Russian-occupied Gori on Monday in what was perhaps the first sign of a promised Russian withdrawal, dpa reported.

A Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa reporter saw diplomatic and civilian traffic being waved through a Russian military checkpoint along the East-West highway about 40 kilometers from the capital Tbilisi.

Vehicles of returning refugees were being searched by Russian troops, the dpa journalist said.

The border city of Gori, which lies 10 kilometers into Georgia proper along the only approach to the breakaway region of South Ossetia, has been under Russian control since Wednesday.

Russia's military on Monday confirmed the start of the pullout of Russian forces from Georgia, in a statement following on earlier media reports.

Deputy chief of general staff Anatoly Nogovizyn announced at a press conference the start of the withdrawal.

"Russia has honourably thwarted Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia and, on the orders of the supreme commander, is today ending this mission," he said.