It was announced earlier today that Russian forces had withdrawn from the disputed village of Perevi along the border between Georgia and the separatist enclave of South Ossetia. The European Union said the pullback came at their behest, but Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze said that Russian troops returned later in the day to reestablish their positions.
South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia after a brief August war between Georgia and Russia. Georgia doesn’t recognize the enclave’s independence and also disputes possession of several villages along the ill-defined border. Georgia administered Perevi before the war, and insists the Russian presence is a violation of the EU-brokered ceasefire. South Ossetian President Kokoity says that Perevi is in Ossetian territory, however.
Minister Vashadze accused Russian forces of “clowning around” in leaving the city briefly, and said a state “that takes itself seriously should not behave in such a way.” Tensions between the two nations have been high since the war, and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has condemned officials in newly independent South Ossetia as “criminals.“