Russian forces start final stage of pull-out

Russian forces start final stage of pull-out

Russian forces appear to have begun the final stage of a pull-out from positions inside Georgia near the breakaway South Ossetia region.

A main Russian checkpoint on a road leading to South Ossetia has been dismantled and bulldozers are razing the post.

Russian troops are sweeping for mines and two bulldozers are levelling the site in Karaleti.

Russia must pull out its troops from areas surrounding South Ossetia and Abkhazia by Friday under Western-backed agreements forged after its August war with Georgia.

The head of Russian peacekeeping troops based in South Ossetia said yesterday that the withdrawal would begin today and be completed within 24 hours.

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