Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an end to military operations against Georgia, the Kremlin says. He told officials that the safety of Russian citizens and peacekeepers in South Ossetia had been restored.
Russia also backed an EU plan to end the five-day-old conflict. Envoys will now try to get Georgian approval. Each side continues to accuse the other of breaking ceasefire accords, and analysts warn that the two remain far apart on a number of issues.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said it was vital that all sides cease fire, adding that Russian military operations “really do now need to stop because calm needs to be restored”.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his current role as EU president, held talks with Mr Medvedev in Moscow for most of the day yeasterday. In a joint news conference, they said a six-point peace plan had been agreed by Russia and would now be taken to Georgia. The deal included a pledge to pull troops on both sides back to their pre-conflict positions, and a plan to begin international discussions about the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. If Georgia agrees to the plan, Mr Medvedev said the “path to a gradual normalisation” in South Ossetia was open. But during the same press conference, Mr Medvedev called Georgian troops “lunatics” and accused Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili of lying over a previous ceasefire agreement.