Russia Holds on to Georgian City as Withdrawal Called into Question; INTERNATIONAL
Russian troops were continuing to hold the key Georgian city of Gori yesterday amid doubts about whether they will honour an agreement to pull out.
The city is located on Georgia's main east-west road and the Russian presence there effectively cuts the country in two.
Under a cease-fire agreement Russian forces are to pull back to the positions they held before the lighting that broke out a week ago in the separatist Georgian region of South Ossetia and saw Russian forces enter Georgia proper.
Although Gori is well outside South Ossetia, Russian military vehicles were blocking the road into the city yesterday.
Meanwhile, a Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman said there were no Russian troops in the city of Kutaisi, Georgia's second-largest city, despite reports they were heading in that direction overnight.
The already strained relations between Russian and the US over Georgia worsened after a top Russian general said an agreement for America to put a missile defence battery in Poland "cannot go unpunished."
General Anatoly Nogovitsyn did not give details, but Russia has previously said it could aim missiles at any sites where missile-defence elements are deployed in Europe. …