West Worries as Russia Digs In

Troops seen reinforcing positions in Georgia despite pullback agreement
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2008 4:17 AM CDT
A Russian military convoy leaves a Georgian army base.   (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)
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(Newser) – Russian forces appear to be hunkering down rather than beginning their promised withdrawal from Georgian territory, the New York Times reports. Troops are digging in along the highway to Tbilisi and military vehicles are moving in both directions, alarming the West, according to Reuters. Pentagon officials say they have seen no significant Russian movement out of Georgia.

Russian forces continue to control the main highways, and checkpoints remain outside the strategic city of Goria, in defiance of the ceasefire agreement. President Dmitry Medvedev vowed any attempt to use force against troops would trigger a "devastating response." Four Russian armored personnel carriers moved closer to Tbilisi, pulverizing Georgian police cars that refused to move. The troop movements come as NATO meets today to consider a US proposal to punish Russia by suspending ministerial meetings with Moscow.