Western governments continue issuing requests to Russia to remove its forces faster from Georgia as per the truce agreement signed to end the conflict in that area of the world. However, Russian soldiers were at work digging positions outside Georgia’s main Black Seat port city of Poti on Thursday even as Moscow maintained that is soldiers were on schedule to pull out of the country proper by Friday. A major factor in contradictory statements concerning the removal or presence of Russian military personnel most probably stems from differing understanding as to what the truce agreement actually contains. A Russian officer told correspondents for the Moscow Times, “we are standing within the Collective Forces for Peacekeeping Zone which extends south to the Rioni River and east to Senaki and the Inguri Dam.” It may well be there is no agreement as to what constitutes the peacekeeping zone.
A major source of confusion arises from Russian belief there are “buffer zones” and Georgian conviction no such areas were ever part of an agreement. Georgian President Saakashvili bluntly told the world, “There will be no buffer zones. We will never lie with any buffer zones. We will never allow this.” The Moscow Times reporters witnessed some Russian troops withdrawing while others remained in positions.
The South Ossetian people appear happy at the change in their lives which now includes the presence of large numbers of Russian troops. President Saakashvili may issue tough statements but his foolhardy invasion has resulted in significant changes in the situation in this area of the world. Our mistakes live on after our stupidity.