August 14, 2008
Agence France Presse
Russian forces have “changed their mind” about leaving the flashpoint Georgian town of Gori and are not withdrawing, a Georgian interior ministry spokesman told AFP Thursday.”All night they said they would leave and now they have changed their mind. Georgian forces have stopped (going to Gori) to avoid clashes with the Russians,” Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told AFP.
Utiashvili said earlier that Georgian forces would retake control of Gori after a pledge from the Russian military that its forces would begin to withdraw. An AFP reporter saw about 20 Georgian police patrol cars carrying heavily armed officers arrive in Gori earlier in the day.
Russian officials had said their pullout from the city, 85 kilometers northwest of Tbilisi, would be completed within two days.
According to residents fleeing Gori Wednesday, the city was the scene of looting and violence as Russian troops and South Ossetia militiamen moved onto the streets.