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Russia Boosts Readiness Of Troops In S.Ossetia

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia said it was putting its troops in South Ossetia on alert after it warned Georgia it had the right to use force in the breakaway region over which Moscow and Tbilisi fought a war a year ago.

"Provocations from the Georgian side ahead of the anniversary of the August events last year are not stopping," Andrei Nesterenko, a spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, said in a statement. "In connection with this, we have stepped up the combat readiness of Russian troops and border guards."

South Ossetia accused Georgian forces of firing mortars at the rebel territory last week, underscoring simmering tension in the region.

Tbilisi denied the charge and monitors from the European Union said they have seen "no evidence" to confirm any shelling.