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Russia's Foreign Ministry called Wednesday on Russian peacekeepers stationed in the conflict zones of two of Georgia's breakaway republics to show restraint
Russia's Foreign Ministry called Wednesday on Russian peacekeepers stationed in the conflict zones of two of Georgia's breakaway republics to show restraint, despite provocation by Tbilisi. On Wednesday Russian peacekeepers detained and later released a group of five Georgian policemen in Georgia's conflict zone with Abkhazia, saying the Georgians had threatened to open fire on them. Georgia in turn said Russian peacekeepers attacked the policemen and beat them up. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin held a telephone conversation with Major General Sergei Chaban, commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in the conflict zone, in which they discussed ways of easing tension in the conflict zones. "The need to show restraint and maintain peace in conditions of increasing provocation by the Georgian side, which threatens the destabilization of the situation near the Russian borders, was especially highlighted [during the talks]," the ministry said in a statement. Georgia has repeatedly voiced its goal of regaining control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which declared independence in the early 1990s. It has also accused the CIS peacekeeping force, mainly represented by Russians, of backing separatists. Chaban said earlier in the day that the number of the Georgian soldiers in the conflict zones had significantly exceeded the permitted number of 600 peacekeepers amounting to over 1,000 troops. He also said that representatives of the Georgian Interior Ministry are causing serious problems for the peacekeeping operation as "they do not abide by the UN Security Council resolution on unrestricted movement of peacekeepers and military observers within the conflict zone." General Chaban was declared Wednesday by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who arrived briefly at the scene of the incident between the peacekeepers and the Georgian policemen, as persona non-grata and was ordered to leave the region. "Tell your general, Chaban, that I am declaring him a persona non-grata, and I want him to leave the country in the next few days," Saakashvili told a Russian peacekeeper Tuesday. But Lt. Gen. Valery Yevnevich, deputy commander of Russia's Ground Forces, reiterated Wednesday that General Chaban would retain his position as commander of the CIS peacekeeping contingent in the conflict zone until CIS heads of state appoint a new commander. The Georgian president repeatedly accused Russian peacekeepers of beating up Georgian policemen and declined to withdraw his comments about the Russian general. "I officially raised the issue of his departure and I will not take my words back," Saakashvili said
Print Russia's Foreign Ministry called Wednesday on Russian peacekeepers stationed in the conflict zones of two of Georgia's breakaway republics to show restraint Bookmark Russia's Foreign Ministry called Wednesday on Russian peacekeepers stationed in the conflict zones of two of Georgia's breakaway republics to show restraint

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