Some Georgians Doubt Russia Means to Leave

Troops build military road even as Friday pullout deadline looms
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2008 12:30 PM CDT
Head of the European Union's monitoring mission in Georgia Hansjoerg Haber, left, discusses deployment of monitors at their temporary base at the Bazaleti Lake.   (AP Photo/Georgy Abdaladze)
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(Newser) – The fact that Russian troops continue to upgrade a dirt road that connects a town near Georgia’s capital with the capital of the breakaway area of South Ossetia has many Georgians in the area believing Moscow isn’t serious about Friday’s deadline to withdraw troops, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The road would allow easy reinforcement of Akhalgori—just 25 miles from Tblisi.

Soldiers have reportedly told the locals that the improvements to a thoroughfare that’s currently just dirt are meant to make the road passable to military vehicles, which worries some Georgians. “They can come from Akhalgori with tanks on the highway into Tbilisi in half an hour,” says one. Says an official of the European Union, which brokered the withdrawal deal: “That is a bit of speculation because there's nothing wrong with improving a road.”