Rus Gen warns NATO of 'appropriate measures' agnst rearming Georgia

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Moscow, Aug 20 (UNI) The Deputy Chief of the Russian Armed Foces' General Staff General Anatoly Nogovitsyn today warned NATO that Russia would take ''appropriate measures'' against rear-ming Georgian army.

Gen Nogovitsyn said at his daily briefing that tensions in the area were being exacerbated by NATO's role in rebuilding the Georgian army.

''We consider such 'peacemaking' on the part of NATO, when the aggressor, which was earlier abundantly armed, is being restored, a clear factor provoking a new blitzkrieg,'' he said.

He also said Russia continued to withdraw its troops from Georgia despite the tense situation in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

''The Russian armed forces act strictly in accordance with the international agreements and continue the withdrawal of troops to places of previous deployment,'' he said, adding Russia will also insist on creating no-fly zones for Georgian aircraft and giving its peacekeepers the right to carry out reconnaissance missions.

''If the zone is under peacekeepers' control, nobody else should fly there,'' Gen Nogovitsyn said, confirming that another Georgian unmanned aircraft was downed in South Ossetia yesterday.

Asked about Russian military losses in South Ossetia, he said 64 service personnel had been killed and another 323 injured.

''The number of those killed has been revised downward from 74, as announced on August 10, to 64,'' he informed.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a telephonic conversation with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday said that by August 22 after completing construction of checkpoints and cantonments, part of the Russian peacekeeping contingent will withdraw to the security zone established by decision of the Joint Control Commission for Resolution of the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict in 1999.

''The remaining portion of the contingent that was sent to reinforce the Russian peacekeeping mission will withdraw to the territory of South Ossetia and to Russia,'' the Kremlin press service quoted him as saying.


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