Russian troops began dismantling checkpoints in Georgia on Sunday in compliance with a ceasefire agreement reached last August, European Union ceasefire monitors said.
As part of the deal to end the five-day war, Moscow agreed to withdraw its forces completely from the buffer zones just outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia within 10 days of the deployment of EU monitors last Wednesday.
About 200 European Union observers have been deployed to monitor the ceasefire and the Russian pull-back.
EU monitors and journalists watched as Russian troops lowered their flag at the post in the village of Nadarbazevi, 50 kilometres northwest of the capital, Tbilisi.
A checkpoint in Ali, in the zone around South Ossetia, was also dismantled on Sunday and Russian forces were leaving another position in Zugdidi, in the zone south of Abkhazia, said Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili.
Georgian and EU officials could not immediately clarify how many Russian positions in total would have to be dismantled to meet the agreement’s terms. After the war, Russia said it would set up a total of 36 checkpoints in the security zones — 18 in each.