Source AP ©

Russia pulls out from Gori

A small column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles has left the strategically key Georgian city of Gori and a Russian officer says they are headed for South Ossetia.

The column, which also apparently included a mobile rocket-launcher, passed the village of Ruisi, outside Gori on the road to South Ossetia on Tuesday afternoon.

Col. Igor Konoshenkov, a Russian military officer, told The Associated Press at the scene that the unit was headed for South Ossetia and, ultimately, back to Russia.

Konoshenkov said the movement was part of the Russian pullback mandated by a cease-fire that requires both sides to return to the positions they held before the Aug. 7 outbreak of heavy fighting in South Ossetia, a separatist Georgian province that has close ties to Russia.

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