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The Wolves Are Leaving, The Sheep Return

Fatima Katsitadze and her sheep

8:30 p.m. local time (4:30 GMT)

At this time, it seems highly probable that the Russians really will leave tomorrow.

Preparations for their withdrawal are almost over. "Ural" trucks are loaded with goods and seem to be on stand-by. A short time ago, one armored personnel carrier, with up to 30 soldiers on it, left the checkpoint on Nabada. The number of soldiers has significantly decreased at the other two checkpoints, as well.

The rain has stopped, and it is warm again in Poti. Everyone is calm; people are no longer afraid.

Today, I took a stroll near the checkpoint at the Seventh Kilometer, and I met a local woman, Fatima Katsitadze, who lives in the nearby settlement of Shavghele.

Before the Russians came in, the surrounding territory was routinely used as pasture by the local people. So today Fatima resumed her pre-conflict everyday activity and brought out her sheep near a bridge that is only a couple of meters away from a Russian checkpoint.

When I spoke with her, she was glad to point out that she is no longer afraid of the Russian soldiers, as they are on their way out.

We'll see how soon this will happen. Tomorrow is a big day for Poti.