From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng (Original Message) Sent: 12/27/2006 5:05 AM Russian Troops Withdraw from Tbilisi After 207 Years Publication time: Today at 12:17 Djokhar time Russian military forces have left Tbilisi, Georgia after over 200 years of being stationed there.
The last train carrying the equipment and personnel of Tbilisi's Russian military unit has arrived in Armenia. Colonel Vladimir Kuparadze, charged with supervising the withdrawal, announced that the military personnel, transport vehicles and military equipment arrived at the Russian base in Gyumri region of Armenia.
Georgian Vice Defense Minister Levan Nikoleishvili noted that the day was a historical victory for Georgia.
The withdrawal was completed ahead of schedule following tension between the current pro-Western Georgian administration, which came to the power following the velvet revolution in 2003, and Russia.
Russia's two other bases in Georgia are still in operation, the evacuation of which is scheduled for October 2008. Russia had previously closed two bases in Georgia.
Russia is trying to prolong its military presence in another velvet revolution country, Ukraine.
To this end, Russia reached an agreement with new Ukrainian Prime Minister Victor Yanukovic, which will allow the Russian BlackSea Fleet to stay in Ukrainian territories until 2017. Russia has military bases in Armenia and Tajikistan as well.
The Russian Kant military base in Kyrgyzstan is only 50 km far away from the American base in the country.
While gradually withdrawing its military presence from the region, Russia is also trying to ensure the elimination of the U.S. bases founded in Central Asian countries after the Afghanistan operation in 2001.
The Shangai Cooperation Organization, of which Russia is a member, called on the United States to evacuate its bases in the region in 2005. Soon after the call, Uzbekistan asked the United States to cease operation of its military base in the country; and the U.S. withdrew from the Hanabad base in November 2005.
Russia Signs Military Base Agreement with Uzbekistan
In accord with the recent agreement between Uzbekistan and Russia, the latter obtained permission for its military airplanes to use the Navoi base in Uzbekistan. Russian Air Forces Deputy Commander Gen. Aitech Bizhev, who announced the agreement, noted that the base was part of the "Air Defense Union" which will be founded by Russia and Uzbekistan and include countries in the region.
Experts describe this latest move as a Russian attempt to expand its military presence and influence in the region. After criticizing the attitude of Western countries with regard to the incidents in the Uzbek city of Andican in May 2005, Uzbekistan sought rapprochement with Russia and China. Source: Zaman http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2006/12/27/6985.shtml
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