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18 May, 2008 10:51

Georgia arrests then releases six Russian peacekeepers

Six Russian peacekeepers have been released following their detention by Georgian police. This follows an incident on the border with Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia. The exact circumstances of the incident are still unclear.

Georgian authorities claim an armoured personnel carrier belonging to the peacekeepers crashed into a car and a scuffle broke out between soldiers and the passengers in the vehicle.

The peacekeepers were then taken away with the assistance of Georgian troops to a local police station, where the authorities say all failed a sobriety test.

However, the Russian side sees the events differently.

They've called it a provocation. The Russian peacekeepers say a convoy of almost fifty vehicles was illegally stopped and scuffles broke out.

“There was no accident involving the peacekeepers. The accusation is groundless. They were accused of driving while drunk. Some of the peacekeepers were taken to the police station and tested there. This showed that no one was drunk. The Georgian side used brute force. We say the incident was a provocation aimed at discrediting the peacekeepers, who have a mandate in the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict zone,” said Aleksandr Diordiev from the collective peacekeeping forces.