( RIA Novosti ) - A cargo train carrying military hardware and equipment has left a Russian military base in Georgia on route to Russia, an aide to the chief of the Russian Ground Forces said.
In mid-November another military train, will leave the southern Georgian base at Batumi for Gyumri in Armenia, which will complete the transfer of military hardware and equipment from the base.
Col. Igor Konashenkov said the train with an aggregate weight of around 55 metric tons of cargo left the 12th base in Batumi at 1.20 a.m. Moscow time [10:20 p.m. Wednesday GMT] in line with plans for evacuating the base ahead of schedule.
Under an agreement between the former Soviet allies, Russia must complete the closure of its base in Batumi by the end of 2008.
General of the Army Alexei Maslov, the chief of the Ground Forces, announced plans for the early withdrawal from Georgia Wednesday, as anti-presidential protestors demonstrated in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, for a sixth day.
Police and troops used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to dispel the demonstrators. The Georgian President declared a state of emergency Wednesday evening, and accused Russia of orchestrating the mass unrest in an address to the nation broadcast on TV.
Russia completed the pullout of its military garrison from Tbilisi, handing over control of its headquarters to Georgia's Defense Ministry last December, and formally handed over its military base at Akhalkalaki in southern Georgia to Tbilisi in June, ahead of the October 2007 deadline.