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Russia to close last military base in Georgia ahead of time

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Russia will evacuate its last military base in Georgia, whose capital, Tbilisi, has been swept by opposition protests, ahead of the deadline, the chief of the Russian Ground Forces said on Wednesday.
MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will evacuate its last military base in Georgia, whose capital, Tbilisi, has been swept by opposition protests, ahead of the deadline, the chief of the Russian Ground Forces said on Wednesday.

"Russia plans to complete the withdrawal of the 12th Russian base in Batumi ahead of schedule," General of the Army Alexei Maslov said, adding that the closure was originally planned for 2008.

A Maslov aide said the last train with military hardware and equipment will leave Batumi on November 8.

"The cargo will have an aggregate weight of around 55 [metric] tons," Col. Igor Konashenkov said.

He said Russia is fulfilling all its obligations under the 2006 agreement and is strictly adhering to the withdrawal schedule.

Russia completed the pullout of its military garrison from the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, handing over control of its headquarters to Georgia's Defense Ministry last December, and formally handed over its military base at Akhalkalaki in southern Georgia to Tbilisi in June, ahead of the October 2007 deadline.

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