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Moscow Complains To U.S. Over Georgian Troop Use

11 June 2004 -- A top Russian diplomat has met with U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow to complain of Georgia's use of U.S.-trained troops in a separatist region.

Georgia briefly sent troops into the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia in May.

A Foreign Ministry statement said that First Deputy Foreign Minister Valerii Loshchinin met with Vershbow today and expressed Moscow's "serious anxiety" about the deployment of a unit trained under the U.S. program of military cooperation with Georgia. The ministry said the unit took part in what it called "provocative actions" in South Ossetia, which has been de facto independent since 1992.

Also today, South Ossetia's leader, Eduard Kokoity, said its security forces have been put on alert amid rumors that hundreds of ethnic Georgians who fled the region during the fighting in 1992 would try to return tomorrow.