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Russia Unveils Some Details of Buffer Zone
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 Aug.'08 / 15:18

The Russian forces will establish two lines of checkpoints in “a security zone” in the vicinity of South Ossetia, Anatoly Nogovitsin, deputy chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, said on August 20.

“In frames of the peacekeeping mandate we are establishing two lines of checkpoints,” Itar-Tass quoted Nogovitsin as saying. “The first line will include eight checkpoints across the line of zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeepers. The second line – involving 10 checkpoints – will be set across the administrative border of South Ossetia. Total of 272 soldiers will be deployed on the eight checkpoints of the first line.”

“There will be a buffer zone between these two lines,” he added.

He did not give any other details or specifics about the exact area of the zone; he, however, said that the town of Gori would not be included in the zone.

The six-point ceasefire agreement and a letter of guarantee and clarification sent by the French President Nikola Sarkozy to his Georgian counterpart, before the latter signed the accord, specifies that the Russian forces can carry out “additional security measures” in the immediate vicinity of South Ossetia. The area will not include any “major urban area” - specifically the town of Gori, according to the French President’s letter.

In his remarks, the deputy chief of the general staff, mentioned “zone of responsibility” of the peacekeeping forces. This zone, according to the agreements signed by the sides years ago, included a total of 140 Ossetian and 130 Georgian villages. The zone even includes some portions of the major highway. According to the French President’s letter the Russian forces, however, should not hinder any movement on the highway. The town of Gori is not inside this zone.

It, however, is unclear whether the Russian military official was referring to this particular “zone of responsibility” in his remarks.

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