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Russian troops to pull back after Georgia's withdrawal
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The Russian military will pull back to its previous positions upon the withdrawal of Georgian troops, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

The Russian armed forces were "sent to South Ossetia to reinforce our peacekeeping troops. After the Georgian troops go back to their barracks, we'll withdraw our units to the territory of the Russian Federation and our peacekeepers will stay in South Ossetia," Lavrov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

The final version of the French-brokered six-point peace plan does not directly mention the future status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Lavrov told a news conference.

However, it is impossible to discuss the security problem without considering the problem of the status of the self-proclaimed republics, he added.

The Russian top diplomat also accused Georgia of being responsible for its aggression against South Ossetia.

"I am sure that the aggressor should also pay for the destruction that has been caused," the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

The restoration of Tskhinvali and other destroyed South Ossetian villages, which "the Georgian army razed to the ground," is among the priorities for Russia now, and the Russian government is allocating significant funds to this end, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 14, 2008)

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