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Georgia Says Russia Releases Three Spies

Georgia says Russia has freed three Georgians who were arrested on espionage charges after the 2008 war between the neighboring states.

Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani was quoted as saying on April 22 that "three people convicted in Russia as Georgian intelligence agents were freed recently."

Russian and Georgian news reports said the third Georgian to be released by Russia was a foreign intelligence agency officer, Zaza Kherkeladze, who had been sentenced to 11 years in prison in Russia in 2010.

Two other Georgians were released earlier.

The releases were announced after Russia said it had held "constructive" talks with Georgian officials in Prague earlier this month aimed at normalizing relations.

Georgia severed diplomatic relations with Russia after Moscow recognized the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia following the short 2008 war.

The Georgian government that took over after former President Mikheil Saakashvili's administration left power has said it wants to improve relations with Russia while also pursuing full membership in the European Union and NATO.
Based on reporting by AFP,, and