Russia Pledges to Start Georgia Pullout Tomorrow
Forces said to occupy villages, major highway and power plant
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 17, 2008 8:51 AM CDT
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, right, answers journalists as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, center, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, left, look on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Philippe Laurenson, Pool)
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(Newser) – Dimitry Medvedev said today he'll start pulling troops out of Georgia tomorrow, but has no plans to withdraw from the separatist stronghold of South Ossetia, the BBC reports. The Russian president made the pledge after a phone conversation with Nicolas Sarkozy, who had brokered a ceasefire Friday. Despite signing the agreement, Russia has continued to control a wide swath of Georgia, including the city of Gori and the main highway through the western part of the country, the AP reports, and today confirmed that it had taken over a major power plant.

Sarkozy warned today that Russia would face "serious consequences" if it did not begin the pullout; echoing comments from President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday. “From my point of view-—and I am in contact with the French—the Russians are perhaps already not honoring their word,” Rice said. The deal, Rice said, only allows the presence of Russian peacekeepers who were in the province of South Ossetia before fighting began.