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Russia Demands ?Unconditional? Release of Peacekeepers

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Georgia would have to assume full responsibility for any negative consequences for bilateral relations, as it, Georgia, has refused to release two Russian citizens serving in Russia?s North Ossetian peacekeeping battalion in the South Ossetian conflict zone.

Georgian police arrested Tariel Khachirov and Vitaly Valiev in the South Ossetian conflict zone on August 29 and charged them with the illegal detention of four Georgian journalists from Rustavi 2 and Mze television stations and three other people, including a 13-year-old boy, on August 27 and 26, respectively. All were released on August 27. The two servicemen were sentenced to pre-trial custody for two months by a court in Mtskheta, a town close to the capital, Tbilisi, on August 30.

The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded on September 3 that Georgia ?immediately release? the two Russian citizens. This latest note of protest was sent to the Georgian Foreign Ministry on September 11.

?Despite the demarche of the Russian Foreign Ministry and insistent appeals of the Russian embassy in Tbilisi, our servicemen still remain in custody. Representatives of the Russian consulate have not been permitted to visit them,? the Russian Foreign Ministry said on September 13.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that it had not received any explanation from the Georgian side regarding, what it claimed, were the ?violent actions of Georgian law enforcers against the peacekeepers.?     

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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