Russians turn back international aid convoys inside Georgia

September 8, 2008 21:31


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Russian soldiers blocked international aid convoys from visiting Georgian villages Monday in a blunt demonstration of power in a tense zone around the breakaway province of South Ossetia. The ambassadors of Sweden, Latvia and Estonia said they also had been barred last week from visiting villages beyond Russian checkpoints. The French and Russian presidents said later Monday, however, that Russian forces would abandon checkpoints like the one at Karaleti and withdraw to South Ossetia after European Union monitors deploy to the border zone by Oct. 1. But a convoy of four vehicles from UN aid agencies had to wait for about an hour at the Karaleti checkpoint before being turned away after a brief discussion with a Russian general.

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