Georgia doubts Russian troop withdrawal

But President Saakashvili suggests there's little Georgians can do about it but offer "passive resistance."

By
August 21, 2008 01:48
2 minute read.
Georgia doubts Russian troop withdrawal

Saakashvili gestures 224.88. (photo credit: AP)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told The Associated Press he does not believe Russia will fulfill its promise to withdraw from most of the country in the coming days. He also suggested there was little Georgians could do about it but offer "passive resistance." Saakashvili said Russia's army is thinning out its presence in some of the towns it occupies, but at the same time is seizing new territory in the former Soviet republic. "What we're seeing now is a clear regrouping and also, again, some kind of deception campaign, saying, 'Look, we're moving out,"' Saakashvili told the AP in an interview Wednesday at his office in the capital, Tbilisi. The Russians, he said, "are making fun of the world." Russia sent tanks and troops into its small Caucasus neighbor after Georgia launched a heavy artillery barrage Aug. 7 against the separatist, pro-Russian province of South Ossetia. Russian forces moved deep into Georgia and continue to hold positions as close as 50 kilometers from the capital. AP reporters saw a diminished Russian presence in one key Georgian town, Gori, on Wednesday, two days after Russia promised to begin a withdrawal. But there was no change in the Russian positions near the capital or in the extent of Russian control in swaths of Georgia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told French President Nicolas Sarkozy by phone Tuesday that Russian troops would withdraw from most of Georgia by Friday - some to Russia, others to the breakaway region of South Ossetia and the security zone extending about 7 kilometers into Georgia along the South Ossetian border, according to the Kremlin. But Saakashvili said that while Russia is pulling troops in some places, "They are going around now and trying to grab new strategic areas in Georgia." With his military unable to mount real resistance, his country in a Russian chokehold and his international allies offering little beyond aid flights, diplomatic visits and rhetoric, Saakashvili finds himself with few real cards other than pleading for more help. "We still expect more" of the international community, he said. "We still believe this is not all, that this is just a beginning." If the Russian occupation stretches on, he suggested Georgians might begin peaceful protests and "passive resistance" in occupied areas. He noted one small protest held in the town of Igoeti on Tuesday, one of the few examples of such activities so far. Saakashvili also said Georgians will "hold hands together ... and they will reconstruct." There would be no violence, he predicted, so as not to give Russia an excuse for retaliation. Russia, he said, is "dreaming to turn my country into Chechnya, into some kind of insurgency warfare field where they go around and operate with brutal force." Georgians appeared to rally around Saakashvili's government during the fighting, but that could change in the coming months if the estimated 158,000 displaced people in Georgia don't return home, if the Russian occupation continues or if the economy plunges. Saakashvili said he was not concerned: "The last thing I'm worried about is about my political future right now." The popularity of his government, he said, "will depend on how we will perform, how well we rebuild."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein (C) appears in court where he pleaded guilty to two prostitution char
July 17, 2019
Jeffrey Epstein's treatment is 'worse' because of his wealth, his lawyers say

By REUTERS

Cookie Settings