A Reuters reporter travelling with one EU patrol said Russian soldiers stopped the vehicles at a checkpoint on the edge of the Russian-declared buffer zone, and then waved them through after about 10 minutes of discussions.
"We're in the buffer zone," one of the EU monitors told the Reuters reporter in the
Questions remained over when the monitors would have full access to the buffer zone.
"We have received assurances from the Russian side at the political level that we will be able to make these patrols (in the buffer zones)," the EU mission's civilian chief Hansjoerg Haber said at the start of patrols on Wednesday morning.
"At the military level, this is understood differently," he said.
The Russian military had said they still have concerns about the safety of monitors, he said.
Under the terms of the ceasefire deal, Russian troops which have been in buffer zones adjacent to South Ossetia and the second breakaway region of Abkhazia since the war are to pull back within 10 days of the deployment of the EU monitors.
An eyewitness told Reuters a second EU patrol, of two vehicles, had crossed into the buffer zone at the
The village lies on the main highway leading into
The Russian military had said on Tuesday the unarmed civilian monitors would only go as far as the edge of the buffer zones adjacent to South Ossetia, though it said
The EU mission said it hopes to coordinate a "step-by-step" withdrawal of Russian forces and simultaneous return of Georgian police to the buffer zones to avoid a security vacuum that could be exploited by roaming militias.
Months of skirmishes between separatists and Georgian troops erupted into war in August when