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Georgia May Deport Detained Russian Officers

(RFE/RL) 9 February 2006 -- A Georgian minister says three Russian military officers detained on the border with the breakaway republic of South Ossetia could be deported.

Georgian officials said the three were detained on 8 February for entering Georgia without visas. Russia said they had gone to the area to investigate an incident a week ago involving Georgian police and Russian peacekeepers.

Giorgi Khaindrava, Georgia's minister for conflict resolution, said Georgian authorities were ready to issue the three officers visas but could not do so because they "did not even have passports."

Khaindrava also denied Russian reports Georgia has sent some 250 soldiers to the buffer zone between Georgia and South Ossetia.

There have been increasing calls in Georgia for Russian peacekeepers to withdraw from South Ossetia. Georgia believes the peacekeepers are supporting the separatists, an accusation that Russia denies.

(, Novosti-Gruziya)

RFE/RL Caucasus Report

RFE/RL Caucasus Report

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