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Russia Criticizes Detention Of Citizens By Georgia

25 June 2004 -- Russia's Foreign Ministry today called on Georgian authorities to clarify the situation surrounding the detention of Russian citizens on suspicion of spying in the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia.

A Georgian Interior Ministry official said yesterday the Russians had been detained in the Djava district of South Ossetia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry statement today said Moscow hopes Georgia will clear up the situation quickly and not "undertake actions that fly in the face of statements to strengthen Russo-Georgian relations."

South Ossetia has close cultural and economic ties to Russia.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has pledged to reunite his fractured country through peaceful means.