Retreat from Gori, Skirmish in Poti


Russian tanks are retreating from Gori, but have taken prisoners and commandeered American military equipment in the occupied port city of Poti. The AP reports:

Russian soldiers took about 20 Georgians in military uniform prisoner at a key Black Sea port in western Georgia on Tuesday, blindfolding them and holding them at gunpoint, and commandeered American Humvees awaiting shipment back to the United States.

The move came as a small column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles left the strategic city of Gori in the first sign of a Russian pullback of troops from Georgia after a cease-fire intended to end fighting that reignited Cold War tensions.

The two countries on Tuesday also exchanged prisoners. However, Russian soldiers also seized Georgians in Poti—the country's key oil port city—and commandeered four U.S. Humvees that had been used in U.S.-Georgian military exercises.

It was the latest example of Russia still demonstrating its military prowess, leaving Georgians to wonder if Russia planned an extended military occupation or was still inflicting punishment before adhering to a promised troop withdrawal.

The Columbia Journalism Review expands on a theme I mentioned last week—the "tremendous failure on the part of the blogosphere" (CJR's words) to provide unique coverage of the Georgia conflict.