Russia and Georgia have begun exchanging prisoners of war taken during
fighting in Georgia in the past two weeks.
Witnesses said officials from the two sides
met Tuesday for the exchange in the village of Igoeti, 45 kilometers west of the
Georgian capital Tbilisi. Ambulances were on the scene and at least two of the
prisoners were on stretchers.
The head of Georgia's national security
council confirmed the exchange to the Associated Press.
Monday, a senior
Pentagon official who spoke on condition of anonymity said he had seen no
significant Russian military pull out from Georgia, as required under a
Earlier Russian General Anatoly Nogovitsyn said his country's
troops have begun withdrawing to Georgia's breakaway region South
But Georgian officials and reporters say they saw Russian tanks
moving away from South Ossetia, deeper into Georgia in the direction of Tbilisi.
Russia sent in tanks and troops into Georgia earlier this month saying
it had to protect Russian citizens after Georgia sent forces into South Ossetia
- a breakaway Georgian region that favors Russia.
The Georgian operation
was aimed at bringing the area back under Tbilisi's control.
President Dmitri Medvedev warned Georgian authorities Monday they face
punishment for the incursion. Earlier, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili
expressed readiness for talks with Russia once that country's troops leave
During the fighting, Russia quickly moved beyond South Ossetia
and now controls several Georgian cities and the major Black Sea port of Poti.
Troops also control the nation's major highways. An explosion Saturday destroyed
a major east-west railroad bridge, blocking all service.
Saakashvili says Russians who stay behind can never be called "peacekeepers,"
and that Georgia will never surrender any territory.
Some information for this report was provided by AP