Georgia frees detained Russian peacekeepers

The peacekeepers were held near Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia where Russia has had peacekeeping troops since the end of a separatist war in the 1990s.

Georgia frees detained Russian peacekeepers
Georgia said on Wednesday it had released four Russian peacekeeping troops it detained a day earlier on suspicion of transporting weapons without proper documents.

Georgian officials said on Tuesday they had detained 14 Russian peacekeepers but later revised the figure to four.

"Last night, after interrogation, all four Russian peacekeepers were freed," Shota Utiashvili, head of the analytical department of Georgia's Interior Ministry, told Reuters.

"We also plan to give the Russians back their truck. But the weapons will remain here until an investigation is complete and after that we will decide what to do with them," he said.

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Tuesday the detention of its peacekeepers was unlawful and they had been carrying the necessary paperwork.

The peacekeepers were held near Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia where Russia has had peacekeeping troops since the end of a separatist war in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, Georgian television showed police scuffling with armed Russian soldiers after stopping their convoy, then wrestling them into waiting jeeps.

Abkhazia is a source of friction between Russia and Georgia. Moscow alleges Tbilisi has been preparing to attack the region.

Georgia's pro-Western government, which has been promised eventual NATO membership, says it has no such plan and accuses Moscow of trying to annexe Abkhazia.

Reuters
Last Mod: 18 Haziran 2008, 17:28
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