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Germany

Germany Presses Russia on Swift Withdrawal From Georgia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Russia to avoid any delays to its troop withdrawal from Georgia and stick to a deadline.

Russian troops in tanks near the Georgian town of Gori

Russian troops don't seem to be in too much of a hurry to leave Georgia

German government spokesman Thomas Steg said Wednesday, Aug. 20, that Russian troop movements were so far "very unsatisfactory" for Berlin.

"At the moment, there is contradictory information, but we have no firm evidence indicating that the Russian withdrawal has really begun," Steg said, adding that the withdrawal had to be finished by Friday at midnight, as had been agreed in a ceasefire signed by Russia and Georgia after days of fighting over Georgian breakaway provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed that all but 500 Russian troops would be pulled out of Georgia on Thursday and Friday.

Steg added that Merkel had said that the most important thing for Russia was not to delay its withrdrawal.

The spokesman also said that Germany had increased its humanitarian aid for the region to 2 million euros ($2.95 million) German defense ministry officials meanwhile announced that a German military plane will bring blankets, mattresses and other basic aid materials to the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

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