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Russia Says Ukrainians Fought For Georgia In 2008 War

Ukraine has denied providing military support to Georgia in the 2008 war.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has said that Ukrainian troops and volunteers fought for Georgia in its war with Russia last year, in the latest sign of strained relations between the neighbors.

Ukraine has denied earlier Russian accusations that it supplied arms to Georgia during the five-day war last August in which Moscow invaded the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia to drive out Georgian government troops.

"Soldiers from Ukraine's regular Defense Ministry detachments and at least 200 members of the UNA-UNSO nationalist organization took part in the armed aggression against South Ossetia," Russia's Prosecutor General's office said in a statement released on Ukraine's Independence Day.

Dozens of members of the UNA-UNSO paramilitary group fought for Chechen rebels against Russian troops in the 1990s, but the organization has become less active in recent years.

Russian investigators said they had found uniforms and documents from the UNA-USNO, as well as documents referring to Georgian-provided transportation.

Ukrainian officials were unavailable for comment on August 24, a public holiday in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko openly supported Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in the aftermath of the war but Kiev authorities denied they provided Georgia with military support during the hostilities.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev this month waded into Ukraine's presidential election, set for January, by accusing Yushchenko of anti-Russian policies and saying he had given up on any improvement on relations as long as he remained in power.