TBILISI, Georgia — A day before the deadline for their promised retreat from Georgian territory, Russian troops showed signs of withdrawal in some places Thursday but announced plans to strengthen their presence in others.
Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian general staff, had promised the pullback would be completed by today, and the military presence was noticeably lighter in the Georgian city of Gori. Stores reopened, and people began to sweep away debris from last week's military strikes.
But on the city's outskirts, Russians still manned checkpoints, and some were installing new artillery positions Thursday afternoon. Columns of military vehicles moved in both directions along the road between Gori and Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia.
Withdrawing large amounts of equipment takes time, a spokesman for the Russian government said. The spokesman estimated that it would be a couple of weeks before a major pullout would be seen.
Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Russia would install eight new military outposts, putting 500 troops in a security zone in undisputed Georgian territory.