Russia removes Georgia checkpoint ahead of treaty
Russia has removed two checkpoints in Georgian territory as per the cease-fire agreement. Russian troops are to be replaced with EU monitors.
European Union (EU) monitors and the Georgian government reported the removal of the post on Sunday, five days before a deadline agreed for all Russian forces to leave territory-controlled by Tbilisi.
"Our observers went to the checkpoint in Ali, northwest of [the town of] Gori, and saw that it has been dismantled," an EU spokesman said.
"This is the first dismantled checkpoint."
Last Wednesday, Russian troops allowed EU monitors to enter a buffer zone around South Ossetia, despite earlier saying the monitors would be prevented from visiting the area.
More than 200 EU peace monitors began their mission Wednesday, as called for in the French-brokered cease-fire.
The checkpoint, near the town of Gori, a gateway to the separatist region, is the first taken down by the Russians under a withdrawal pledge.
Russia has agreed to pull out troops from two buffer zones within Georgia by 10 October, under EU observation.
Russia is also due to pull out from checkpoints between Sinaki and the Black Sea port of Poti. Georgia stated they would not use force during any of these withdrawals.