First Withdrawal of Russian Military Equipment From Georgia
A first convoy of Russian military equipment arrived in Russia Wednesday after leaving Georgia in the latest stage of an accord under which Moscow will abandon two of its four military bases in the former Soviet republic, ITAR-TASS said.
Two Russian ships from the Georgian port of Batumi docked in the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossisk carrying a total of 10 tanks, 13 armoured cars and 26 military trucks, a Russian naval official told ITAR-TASS.
The deal signed last year on the sidelines of an Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe summit allows for Russian forces to abandon bases 30 kilometres (20 miles) to the south of Tbilisi in the secessionist region of Abkhazia.
The fate of the two other Russian bases in Georgia, in the south, will be decided in negotiations later this year, the second-in-command of Russia's chief of staff, General Valery Manilov, said recently.
But Moscow has stipulated that the airport at the Vaziani base must stay at its disposal.
Under the accord, Russia is allowed to deploy no more than 153 tanks, 241 armoured cars and 140 artillery pieces in Georgia until the end of the year – MOSCOW (AFP)
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