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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Presses Russia Over Georgia

ReutersHaber

TBILISI, Georgia — European Union monitors in Georgia called on Russian forces on Saturday to pull back from a disputed village and warned that detentions on both sides of the de facto border with South Ossetia were raising tension.

The 225-member mission deployed just over a year ago after a five-day war in which Russia crushed a Georgian assault on breakaway South Ossetia after months of rising tension.

Mission head Hansjoerg Haber said access to satellite imagery had improved surveillance over South Ossetia, which the unarmed EU monitors are not allowed to enter.

But Russia remained in violation of an EU-brokered cease-fire agreement that called for the withdrawal of all forces to pre-war positions, he said. Two months after the war, Russian forces pulled back from a buffer zone inside Georgia proper, but kept soldiers in the buffer zone village of Perevi.

“I think the time has come to solve this problem,” Haber said.

Russian troops pulled back from Perevi on Dec. 12, 2008, but returned the same day when Georgian forces moved in. The village lies on an access road to South Ossetia’s western flank.