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Port's Problems Echo Troubles in Georgia
Babel-Fish | August 20, 2008 at 09:50 pmby
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POTI, Georgia — When Alan Middleton became CEO of the Poti Sea Port Corporation this spring, he thought he was moving to a position in a promising emerging market and not to what would soon be a war zone.
But a Russian bombing raid on the night of Aug. 8-9, following an assault by Georgian troops on South Ossetia, killed three of his employees and two other workers and caused damages of around $1 million, Middleton said.
Then, early Monday morning, Russian ground troops moved onto the grounds of the port, he said, and destroyed a Georgian warship, took 21 Georgian soldiers hostage and absconded with five U.S. Humvees.
The situation in Poti is just one part of a larger confusing picture where, despite the signing in Moscow of a truce between Georgia and Russia last week, it remained unclear Wednesday whether Russian troops were withdrawing, as called for in the agreement, or carrying out further operations.
The United States and Germany added their concerns to those expressed by France a day earlier that Russian troops were either dragging their feet on pulling out of Georgia proper or were digging their forces in ahead of an even longer stay.