Russia aims to keep control of Georgian port city

A top Russian general on Saturday said his country's forces will continue to patrol a key Georgian Black Sea port even though the city lies outside the 'security zones" where Russia claims it has the right to station soldiers in Georgia. The statement by deputy head of the general staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, reported by Russian news agencies, came a day after Russia said it had pulled back forces from Georgia in accordance with a EU-brokered cease-fire agreement. Russia interprets the accord as allowing it to keep a substantial military presence in Georgia - a point hotly disputed by the United States, France and Britain. The Russian troop pullback allowed residents of the strategic central city of Gori to begin returning two weeks after they fled Russian air attacks and advancing troops. Chaotic crowds of people and cars were jammed outside the city Saturday as Georgian police tried to control the mass return by setting up makeshift checkpoints - an ironic echo of the Russian checkpoints that had ringed the city a day earlier.