TV Reports Russian Troops Pullout From Georgia

TV REPORTS RUSSIAN TROOPS PULLOUT FROM GEORGIA

NTV Mir, Moscow
15 May 06

Excerpt from report by Russian external TV service NTV Mir “Segodnya”
news on 15 May.

[Presenter] The first echelon with Russian hardware has left the
Akhalkalaki base. The military hopes that this train as well as all
the subsequent ones will not have problems while travelling across
Georgia. The first echelon left three hours ago. The Russian and
Georgian defence ministers have agreed to close down the base and it
has to be closed down completely by the end of 2007. Our correspondent
Vadim Fefilov was watching the withdrawal of the first consignment of
Russian tanks, armoured personnel carriers and reconnaissance patrol
vehicles from the Georgian territory.

[Video shows troops leaving] [Correspondent] Lt-Gen [Valeriy]
Yevnevich makes a short report by satellite telephone to his bosses
in Moscow and the first echelon with Russian hardware pulls out of
the Ahkalkalaki base to make its way across Georgia and Azerbaijan to
Russia. Russian servicemen, just as they had promised to the Georgian
side, have managed to move tanks, combat reconnaissance vehicles,
ammunition and missiles from Akhalkalaki to the railway station of
Tsalka. That was not simple.

[Passage omitted: they had to move along difficult routes in the
mountains at an altitude of 2,500 metres; but the vehicles are in
good order because soldiers are really professional; everything is
proceeding without problems so far.]

[Correspondent, continues] It has transpired that Armenia has feared
that some of the Russian equipment may be left in Azerbaijan for some
reason. Azerbaijan’s military attache are telling their Armenian
colleagues that there is nothing to worry about.

[Passage omitted: Russia and Azerbaijan have agreed the equipment will
not be stopped in Azerbaijan; locals around the base are primarily
ethnic Armenians and they are now losing their jobs because of the
withdrawal]

[Correspondent, continuing] In line with earlier agreements between
the Russian and Georgian defence ministers another 20 echelons with
Russian heavy hardware will leave the area before the end of the year.

[Passage omitted: the correspondent signs off]

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