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Good News And Skepticism

The Russians might withdraw 'tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow'
The Russians might withdraw 'tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow'
10:30 a.m. local time (6:30 a.m. GMT)

It's Saint Mary's Day in Georgia, so in the morning I attended a church service. The church was so full of people that it was difficult to believe that half of Poti's residents have fled the city.

Good news also arrived: 12 Georgian military police officers have been released from Russian custody. They were among 22 officers arrested while guarding Poti's port on August 19. At that time, Georgian officials claimed the Russians gave them permission to send in the servicemen and start guarding the port -- but once the officers were actually inside the port area, they were arrested. Ten were freed earlier, and the remaining 12 were released today, near the Enguri Bridge, at the administrative border between Georgia and Abkhazia.

Last night, the secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, Alexandre Lomaia, speaking on Rustavi 2 TV, said he expected the Russian troops to withdraw from Poti soon: "perhaps tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow." Today, everyone is talking about Lomaia's prediction. Some Poti residents are optimistic, saying they believe the Russians will actually leave very soon, but others remain skeptical, and will only believe the news once they see the troops departing.