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South Ossetia Releases Georgian Bus Driver

TBILISI -- A Georgian bus driver detained by Russian soldiers in South Ossetia on November 29 was released today, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

Ramaz Makasarashvili, a bus driver from the Georgian village of Djvari whose route connects the ethnic-Georgian-inhabited Perevi, in South Ossetia, with villages in Georgia proper, was detained for "illegal border crossing."

Makasarashvili is now in the Georgian city of Gori.

Meanwhile, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, is holding talks with South Ossetian authorities on the possible release of four Georgian teenagers detained earlier this month by Russian soldiers on the Georgian-South Ossetian boundary, also on charges of illegally crossing the border.

South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway territory, Abkhazia, declared their independence from Georgia in August 2008 after the five-day Russian-Georgian war.