Tbilisi calls on Russia to withdraw forces from Georgia

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) – Tbilisi is calling on Russia to withdraw its military forces from Georgian territory, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said on Thursday.

"I wish to once again call on Russia to adhere to its assumed commitments and withdraw its military forces from Georgian territory. It will be the most appropriate message for streamlining our relations," Bakhtadze was quoted as saying in a statement.

His remarks came at a briefing around the 10th anniversary of the conclusion of the Russian-Georgian war, which ended on Aug. 16, 2008.

"Russian aggression, the occupation of our territories, human losses, and tens of thousands of refugees and internally displaced people are open wounds for every single citizen of Georgia," Bakhtadze said.

He added that Georgia's response to Moscow's "aggression" was peace, building a strong state, and developing public institutions at European standards.

Tbilisi fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 over Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Georgia lost control of both areas and Russia later recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Turkey supports Georgia's territorial integrity, including the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.