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8 Jul, 2008 14:40

South Ossetia frees Georgian soldiers

Four Georgian soldiers detained on Monday night in South Ossetia have been released. The four men were accused of taking part in a reconnaissance mission in advance of an attack on the breakaway region. One of those arre

The Georgian side initially denied their personnel had been seized, but later confirmed it, claiming they were merely visiting relatives in South Ossetia.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili had ordered the Interior Ministry to prepare an operation to free the captured soldiers. South Ossetian authorities also reported Georgia had transported about 300 ethnic Georgian children from its breakaway republic.

The incident follows a number of shootings in the region. Georgians and South Ossetians are blaming each other for opening fire and tensions are escalating.

The sides are being kept apart by the peacekeeping force. But the South Ossetian leader says they are ready to attack positions from which Georgians are firing at the breakaway region’s capital Tskhinvali.