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  Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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Russian troops have returned to Perevi village along Georgia's border
Russian troops have returned to Perevi village along Georgia's border with South Ossetia to prevent growing tensions in the area, the Foreign Ministry said Friday in response to criticism by EU monitors.

The troops had briefly entered the southern part of the village initially to try and verify whether a checkpoint was geographically located in South Ossetia or Georgia, which was in line with the French-brokered peace deal, the ministry said.

"However, the Georgian leadership staged a new provocation by sending commandos into the village in violation of the peace plan and the EU monitoring mission's mandate...The move was accompanied by an active propaganda campaign, when foreign reporters were invited."

"The Russian command made a decision that Russian troops should return to the checkpoint to curb growing tensions," the ministry said.

Russia reported a complete pullout from undisputed Georgian territory ahead of an agreed October 10 deadline. Russian troops have been replaced by an EU monitoring mission tasked with ensuring security along the border with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia have refused to allow EU observers on their territory.

Russia has also retained a presence in Akhalgori, however, as Moscow insists the area is part of Abkhazia that had been occupied by Georgian troops. Russia has also kept a checkpoint in Perevi, on the border with South Ossetia.

Georgian authorities said Russian military refused EU envoys, who were in Perevi on a familiarization mission, access to the village on December 13. The French ambassador said it was a "violation of the [French-brokered] agreement on the part of Russia."

Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states on August 26 after a five-day war with Georgia, which launched an attack on South Ossetia to try and regain control of the region.

The two Georgian breakaway republics have had de facto independence since they broke away from Georgia in bloody post-Soviet conflicts in the early 1990s.


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