Moscow will keep troops in Georgia enclaves

09:49, 10 September 2008
645 0

About 3,800 troops will remain in each region

The regional power struggle prompted by the crisis in Georgia intensified Tuesday when Moscow said it would keep thousands of Russian troops in the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the European Union promised deeper ties with Ukraine.

At a meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France on Monday, President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia agreed to honor a European Union-brokered peace plan requiring Russia to withdraw troops from positions within Georgia by mid-October. Russian troops in the two breakaway enclaves were not covered by the agreement, European Union officials said.

Russia said it pulled troops back from a town outside Abkhazia on Tuesday, one of 24 Russian positions in Georgia.

Defense Minister Anatoly E. Serdyukov told Mr. Medvedev during a televised meeting on Tuesday that about 3,800 troops would remain in each breakaway region. Georgian officials estimate that there were about 2,200 Russian troops in each enclave before fighting erupted on Aug. 7.

Meanwhile, the European Union said it was on track to sign a deal in 2009 to strengthen economic and political ties to the government in Kyiv, although it gave no commitment that Ukraine would ever become a member.

European Union and Ukrainian officials met in Paris on Tuesday to negotiate an “association agreement” that could be signed next year. The deal would create a free trade zone and increase cooperation on energy, among other measures.

“This shuts no doors and perhaps it opens some doors,” Mr. Sarkozy said.

The New York Times

If you see a spelling error on our site, select it and press Ctrl+Enter