Russia's Defense Ministry has announced that observations posts near South Ossetia and Abkhazia are being closed down, Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported.

The announcement followed earlier reports from officials in Georgia who said Russian forces pulled out of a position near Abkhazia on Tuesday.

It was the first sign of the withdrawal Moscow promised following talks with European Union leaders.

Defense Ministry officials in Moscow refused to immediately confirm the report.

A deal French President Nicolas Sarkozy brokered with Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev on Monday calls for the removal of all those positions by Oct. 11.

EU monitors are to be deployed in strips of land surrounding the regions by Oct. 1.