Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said there was no sign of a Russian withdrawal from the Akhalgori district, but acknowledged that the process was well underway in other areas adjacent to South Ossetia and the Samegrelo region.
“In the villages of Akhalgori the troops are digging in, which indicates an attempts to stay there,” Iakobashvili told reporters on October 8.
He said EU observers were monitoring the withdrawal, which, he said, was “important.”
“Neither we nor others will consider that they [the Russian side] have met their commitments if they do not meet them properly,” Iakobashvili added.
Meanwhile, Hansjoerg Haber, the head of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), has confirmed that the Russian withdrawal from areas adjacent to both breakaway regions was underway. “This is a very positive sign,” he said.
Haber personally observed the Russian withdrawal from villages in the Samegrelo region.
Georgian media reported on October 8 that, following the withdrawal of Russian troops, Georgian law enforcers had already entered villages in the Gori district, including Karaleti and Variani.
Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili said Georgian police had entered the vacated villages “together with special troops.”
“By evening all these villages, this territory will be controlled by Georgian police,” he told reporters. “Within a half hour of the Russian occupiers leaving this area, internally displaced persons can return to their homes and Georgian police will assume full responsibility for ensuring their security.”