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Russian Army chiefs deny peacekeepers detained in Abkhazia

RIA Novosti

17/10/2007 15:10 MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Army called a report by the Georgian Rustavi-2 TV channel on the detention of five Russian peacekeepers by Georgian police in the breakaway province of Abkhazia "a provocation" on Wednesday.

"False statements like this, repeated by one and the same Georgian mass media source, are pure provocation, released in order to discredit Russian peacekeepers," the Russian Army press office said.

The statement also said no official appeals had been made to the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force in the zone of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict this week.

"All the CIS Collective Peacekeeping Force staff are at their posts, the peacekeepers are performing patrols in the security zone and carrying out their duties as prescribed by the mandate," the statement said.

Georgia has repeatedly expressed its intention to regain control over the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which broke away in the early 1990s. It has also accused the CIS peacekeeping force, mainly represented by Russians, of backing separatists.

Georgia has called for the peacekeepers to be replaced by a neutral party force.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved an extension of the mandate for its observer mission in Georgia on October 15 by another six months, until April 15, 2008.



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