Updated 08/18/2008 09:07 AM
By: NY1 News
As Russia pledges to remove troops from Georgia Monday, the city’s small Georgian population is hoping and praying for a quick resolution to the conflict.
About 300 of the city’s 5,000 Georgians attended masses Sunday at St. Nino’s Georgian Orthodox Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of the few of its kind in the country.
Parishioners prayed in their native Georgian language and expressed concern for their friends and relatives stuck in the war-torn region.
"It’s sleepless nights and staying up and trying to see what’s going on,” said parishioner Mike Mangoshvili. "And at least before they're notified, we would have most recent, up-to-date information, and that way we can communicate to them and kind of tell them what to do in case there’s any danger approaching."
"I call them a few times a day, and once I heard that my family, my cousins who live in Senaki, that Russian soldiers were there I was besides myself," said parishioner Malina Ochigava. "So I called them and they were very scared. They couldn't go out."
"It’s very stressful, and every day it’s like calling home 2,000 times every day and trying to find out what's going on," said parishioner Levan Koguashvili.
Not all Georgians believe that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will keep his promise to remove troops from the small Eurasian country Monday.
"They said several times that they are going to stop the fire, but fire continues," said Father Alexander Tandilashvili of St. Nino's. "Now they are stop the fire but concerns to the withdrawal of the troops. I would love to see that they keep their word, but they already broke their word several times so it's very difficult to believe what they say."
Donations for Georgian relief can be sent to:
Saint Nino’s Georgian Orthodox Church
P.O. Box 351160
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has pledged not to give up the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
President George Bush's administration says it is re-evaluating its relationship with Russia. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Russia's decisions will affect its reputation as a "potential partner in the international system."
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