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TBILISI -- Georgian officials and representatives from its breakaway region of South Ossetia have completed an exchange of detained people, RFE/RL's Russian and Georgian services report.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili told RFE/RL that Georgia released eight people from South Ossetia who were arrested for minor crimes before and after a military conflict over the region in August 2008.

South Ossetian authorities, in turn, released eight Georgians arrested for "illegally crossing the border" from Georgia proper into the disputed region.

The release of detainees began several days ago, and more such exchanges are expected.

Moscow formally recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states following the 2008 war between Russian and Georgian forces. Georgia regards the two regions as occupied territories.

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