Update on Russia-Georgia conflict

GG: I found Russian troops on the highway south of Gori talking to Georgian policeman, to come into the town of Gori and help restore law and order there. The Russians had a large military presence on the outskirts of Gori and it was clear who was in charge. The commander of those Russian forces told me that he wanted to get his men out as soon as possible but he wanted to be sure that looting and crime in the town had stopped. The Russians did stop us on our way out because they said there was trouble ahead, and shortly thereafter we heard some explosions. (Who is doing the looting?) The Russians say it's being done in South Ossetians. When the Georgian army retreated out of Gori and out of South Ossetia, there was a power vacuum in Gori and no local residents left. So people came from surrounding villages and started looting. (We heard a report from Human Rights Watch about burning houses in the region and trying to prevent Georgians from coming back.) Yes, and a colleague of mine corroborated the report of burning houses. (But now we have both sides claiming ethnic cleansing is going on.) Yes, that's true�there's a fierce war of words going on in addition to the explosions. (What is your take on whether this situation is quieting down or not?) There are accusations from both sides that the other is not sticking to the ceasefire and the reality is bombs and artillery are still being fired.

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