Russia Misinterprets Cease-Fire and Advances Further Into Georgia
Maybe there was a language barrier of some kind and in Russia "pullback" means "CHARGE!" Who knows.
Late yesterday julianw had this to say.
In response to strong pressure from various world leaders, President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to pull Russian forces out of Georgia starting Monday, the AFP reports. The announcement contrasts sharply with an earlier report suggesting Russian forces were digging in Sunday for a long stay in Georgia.
Russia said Monday it had begun withdrawing from the conflict zone in Georgia, but it held fast to key positions and sent some of its troops in the opposite direction — closer to the Georgian capital.
Russian troops and vehicles roamed freely around the strategically located central city of Gori, Russian forces appeared to blow up the runway at a military base in the western town of Senaki.
There were few signs Russia was following the terms of a cease-fire to end the short war, which has driven tensions between Russia and the West to some of their highest levels since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
In Paris, the French foreign minister said it appeared "we are witnessing the start" of a Russian withdrawal, but warned France would call an emergency meeting of the European Council to talk about consequences for Russia if that was not the case.
But U.S. defense and military officials said they had seen no significant movement yet of Russian troops withdrawing from Georgia.
In Moscow, the deputy chief of the Russian general staff, Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, told a briefing that "today, according to the peace plan, the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers and reinforcements has begun" and said forces were leaving Gori.
But Russian tanks and troops roamed freely around the city and made forays toward the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, 55 miles to the southeast. Russia also kept control of the critical highway that slices through Georgia's midsection.
AP reporters saw four Russian armored personnel carriers, each carrying about 15 men, rolling from Gori to Igoeti, a crossroads town even closer to Tbilisi, passing Georgian soldiers who sat by the roadside.
The Russians moved into Igoeti then turned off onto a side road. As the Russian vehicles rolled past a group of Georgian soldiers and policemen, one swerved and scraped a new Georgian police car. The Georgians looked down at their fingernails.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing intelligence reports, said at least one Russian battalion equipped with more than a dozen SS-21 missile launchers had moved into South Ossetia, within range of Tbilisi. Nogovitsyn disputed the claim.
An Associated Press cameraman was slightly injured outside Gori after four men in camouflage, possibly from an Ossetian militia, pulled up in a car and told him to stop filming.
When the cameraman resisted, the driver produced a pistol and started shooting at the ground. The cameraman, who sustained light ricochet wounds to his legs, handed over the cassette.