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EU Hails Release Of Georgian Nationals From South Ossetian Custody

The European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia has welcomed the release of 17 Georgians who were detained in the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

In a statement issued on May 14, the mission expressed hope that "such detentions will be avoided in the future."

The 17 residents of Georgia's Sachkhere district near the administrative boundary with the separatist region were detained last week, reportedly while picking herbs. They were released on May 10.

Russian troops patrolling the boundary with the breakaway region frequently arrest Georgians in the villages near the boundary on charges of illegally crossing the border.

Russia maintains troops in South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia.

Moscow recognized the two regions as independent states after a short war with Tbilisi in August 2008.

Georgia considers the two regions as its territories.