There has been no substantial withdrawal of Russian troops so far. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused NATO of adopting a policy against his country by supporting Georgia, after the alliance declared there can no longer be business as usual with Russia.

While NATO countries have criticised Russian military actions in Georgia over the past 13 days, Mr Lavrov has condemned the alliance’s support of the former Soviet state.

World leaders have continued to dispute whether Russia is pulling out of Georgia, with NATO sending a sharp message that until the Russians leave, relations are on ice: not a cold war but a signal the maps of Europe are not about to be redrawn in Russia’s favour.

“This document is a very clear statement that this alliance, NATO, having come so far after the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union in achieving a Europe that is whole free and at peace is not going to permit a new line to be drawn in Europe,” said US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

The Russians were quick to react.

“The way NATO assesses the fulfilment of this condition is biased. They blame us as if there were no requirements for the Georgian side,” Mr Lavrov said.

Mr Lavrov says instead of NATO telling Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili what to do to meet its standards, Mr Saakashvili has told the alliance what to do to meet his ambitions.

Georgia is hoping to join NATO and has been given indications by the alliance that is being considered.

That has infuriated Russia and Mr Lavrov says drawing Georgia into NATO is just an anti-Russian policy that supports an aggressive regime.

Russian withdrawal

Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says all but 500 of his country’s troops should be withdrawn from Georgia by Thursday or Friday.

He says those that remain will stay in a buffer zone around the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

Earlier the Kremlin quoted Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as saying that Russian forces would pull back by August 22 to the positions set out under a French-brokered ceasefire.

That would require most of them to withdraw to Russia or South Ossetia but parts of the force, under the terms of the deal, will remain in a buffer zone around the breakaway region.

“By 22 August… a part of the peacekeepers will be pulled back to the temporary security zone,” a Kremlin statement quoted Mr Medvedev as telling French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a telephone conversation.

There has been no substantial withdrawal of Russian troops so far, despite official statements that the pull-out is underway.

Russia’s deputy chief of the general staff, General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, says the pullout has been slow because Georgia has not returned all its troops to bases as agreed.

He says in South Ossetia there are a lot of abandoned Georgian vehicles that have to be cleared.

But the General says the pullout will accelerate on August 22 when Russian peacekeeping posts are in place in South Ossetia.

UN draft resolution

Meanwhile the United Nations Security Council has again failed to take a vote on a draft resolution demanding full compliance with the proposed ceasefire between Russia and Georgia.

After another emergency meeting in New York today, the 15-member UN Security Council has failed to reach agreement on a resolution demanding full compliance with a French-brokered ceasefire and a full withdrawal of Russian troops.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, says Russia is withdrawing troops anyway.

“[The resolution] is a waste of time. Let me tell you it’s a waste of time because the process of the withdrawal of Russian forces will continue,” he said.

Georgia’s ambassador, Irakli Alasania, does not believe that.

“There’s no signs, as I mentioned, that they are preparing for the withdrawal,” he said.

“The rampage, the looting is still going on.”

Russia has a veto power in the Security Council.


World leaders argue, but 150,000 people displaced by the fighting have little time for politics.

Some have no homes to return to, others – like those at a camp in Tbilisi – simply do not know what is happening.

Desperate, they live in Red Cross tents near the airport, as American aid flights arrive overhead.

Everyone wants to return home but not while the Russians are there.

Liz Ochalachvili fled from a village right near the border.

She told correspondent Philip Williams that Russian troops shot at the wheels of the car she was in. She said they were all beaten, the men stripped and called pigs.

She said they were lined up along the roadside and thought they were about to be executed. Two boys approached in a car and both were shot dead. A man in the street was also killed.

She said three more boys were gunned down, but she did not know if they died.

Sharing the tents was a single mother of two, Tamara Tabutson. She fled the now occupied city of Gori and fears a return could mean kidnap, rape or murder.

“In Gori, no-one told us to leave or helped us to leave. No-one. No car would stop. Now I see that we must take care of ourselves. Even here,” she said.

There are similar stories of atrocities and fear on both sides.

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