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Russian peacekeepers remove weapons from Georgian arms depot

RIA Novosti

13/08/2008 19:37 MOSCOW, August 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian peacekeepers are removing equipment and weapons from an arms depot discovered near the Georgian town of Gori, close to the border with South Ossetia, a peacekeeping spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We have discovered an undefended Georgian army depot containing a significant amount of military hardware and weapons near the town of Gori. The military hardware is in full working order and combat ready," the spokesman said.

He said the peacekeepers were trying to clear the area close to the conflict zone of weapons and military hardware to guarantee the security and safety of the civilian population. He once again denied that Russian troops are continuing to advance inside Georgia.

"Any claims that Russian troops are advancing inside Georgia are untrue," he said.

Georgia is continuing to maintain that Russian troops are moving from the Georgian town of Gori towards the capital Tbilisi. Russia has denied the allegations.

Russia has meanwhile sent over 1,700 rescue workers and hundreds of medical personal to the devastated South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, the emergencies minister said Wednesday. Two field hospitals have been set up in the city. Debris is being cleared and measures taken to prevent any outbreak of disease.

At least 1,600 civilians were killed and more than 30,000 fled across the border to Russia following Georgia's military offensive to regain control of the region which began last Friday.

During the subsequent counter operation to expel Georgian troops from the de facto independent republic and to reinforce Russian peacekeepers, Moscow sent some 10,000 troops and several hundred armored vehicles into the area.

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