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Russia increases death toll in S. Ossetia conflict to 67 soldiers

RIA Novosti

10:24 07/08/2009 MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's top investigation committee announced on Friday that the number of Russian service personnel killed during the brief military conflict with Georgia in August last year now stands at 67.

Previous official reports said the death toll in the "five-day war" between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia was 64 Russian military personnel.

"In addition, as a result of the Georgian attack on Tskhinvali and other towns in South Ossetia 655 residential buildings were completely destroyed or set on fire and 2,139 houses were damaged," said Vladimir Markin, an official spokesman for Russia's Investigation Committee under the Prosecutor General's Office.

The official said Russian investigators had completed the probe into alleged atrocities committed by Georgian troops in South Ossetia in August 2008 and the criminal case now comprises 380 volumes.

Last August's war saw Russian forces expel invading Georgian troops from South Ossetia and force them deep into Georgia amid accusations on both sides of human rights abuses. Russia eventually withdrew from Georgian territory and recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former Georgian republic, on August 24.

In response, Tbilisi severed diplomatic ties with Moscow and pronounced South Ossetia and Abkhazia "occupied territories."


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