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The United States has demanded Russia abide by the terms
The United States has demanded Russia abide by the terms of the South Ossetia ceasefire plan and pull its troops out of Georgia.

"These guys [Russia leaders] are at every turn trying to wiggle out of a commitment they made and that their president put his name to," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "They need to get out of Georgia and they need to stop finding excuses to do that."

He also said Washington was "extremely concerned" by Russian statements that thousands of regular troops would be based in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"That, of course, would be a violation of the cease-fire that they signed in August," McCormack said. "Russia and their government and troops need to abide by their commitments, bottom line."

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Wednesday that about 3,800 service personnel would be based in each republic, a move Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said was legal since Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

"With the signing and ratification of the treaty we initialed today, the troops will be there on an international-legal basis," Lavrov told journalists later Wednesday. "These are not peacekeepers, this is a military contingent whose number is defined by the Defense Ministry in consultation with its partners in South Ossetia and Abkhazia."

McCormack also criticized Russia over problems getting humanitarian aid to some villages near the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

"We are also very concerned by Russian restrictions on the flow of humanitarian aid, which also contravenes the ceasefire agreement," he said. "The Russian checkpoint at Karaleti continues to turn back shipments of humanitarian assistance that is trying to reach the villages south of Tskhinvali."

"We strongly urge Russia to allow the free flow of humanitarian assistance to all areas of Georgia," the spokesman concluded.

Russia's strained relations with the United States and the European Union since the conflict in Georgia - heightened by Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia - have descended into tit-for-tat accusations over whether Moscow and Tbilisi are upholding their obligations under the peace deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.


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