“Standoff in tense Georgian town” “The Russian troops are destroying the city of Gori”



Russians ‘return’

Russian troops in tanks and armoured personnel carriers entered Gori on Wednesday, despite both sides signing a ceasefire agreement just hours earlier.

“Despite the previously reached agreement, Russians are deploying additional forces in Gori and fortifying the city. At the same time, Russian armed forces have returned to Poti,” Nato Chikovani, a spokeswoman for Georgia’s foreign ministry, said on Thursday.

Tanks rolled back into the Black Sea port of Poti, where Russian forces sank a number of coast guard vessels on Wednesday, witnesses said.

“Just a few minutes ago they [the Russians] entered Poti in tanks,” Nikoloz Gogoli, a shipping agent, told the Reuters news agency.

“Some of the guys have blue signs, badges, which means they should be peacekeepers.”

Hoda Abdel-Hamid, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Poti, said there was no sign of Russian soldiers pulling back from the port.

Abdel-Hamid said: “The mayor of Poti has called it an occupation of western Georgia and said there were no signs of the Russian troops leaving the area.

“Although some of the soldiers wore insignia indicating they were Russian peacekeeping soldiers, many of them were proper Russian soldiers.”

Shota Utiashvili, a Georgian interior ministry spokesman, said that Russian troops were “destroying” the two towns.

“The Russian troops are destroying the city of Gori. There are sounds of explosions. They are mining the city,” he said.

“They are destroying everything in Poti port … they are destroying the newly built roads in western Georgia.”

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