05:27 GMT +323 October 2017
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    Russia completes troop pullout from S.Ossetia buffer zone

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    Russia completed the withdrawal of its peacekeepers from a buffer zone near South Ossetia on Wednesday, two days ahead of the agreed deadline, the commander of the Russian peacekeepers in the region said.

    MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia completed the withdrawal of its peacekeepers from a buffer zone near South Ossetia on Wednesday, two days ahead of the agreed deadline, the commander of the Russian peacekeepers in the region said.

    "The last convoy of arms and military equipment crossed the border at 8:30 p.m. Moscow time [16:30 GMT]. The convoy was escorted by OSCE representatives," Gen. Marat Kulakhmetov said.

    The Russian and French presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy, agreed in September that Russia's full withdrawal from undisputed parts of Georgia would come not more than 10 days after the European Union deployed at least 200 observers in the buffer zones near South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The EU teams were deployed October 1.

    Russia launched a five-day military operation to "force Georgia to accept peace" after Georgian troops attacked breakaway South Ossetia on August 8, killing a number of Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of civilians.

    Russia's response to the Georgian attack was labeled "disproportionate" by a number of Western powers. On August 26, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian republic, as independent states.

    Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s amid armed conflicts that claimed thousands of lives.

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