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21 Jun, 2008 10:27

Medvedev won’t let Georgia offend Russian peacekeepers

The mistreatment of Russian peacekeepers will not be tolerated, according to Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev. He's vowed that Georgia and Russia will resolve all conflicts by diplomatic means and believes the stationing of Russian troops on Georgian te

The statement comes after four Russian servicemen and the weapons they were transporting were seized by Georgian police on Tuesday.

“We will not allow this type of treatment towards our peacekeepers,” he said. “They are stationed on Georgian territory in accordance with an international agreement and are performing their mission with dignity and professionalism.”

It is 14 years since the CIS forces were deployed in the conflict zone on the Georgian-Abkhazian border. After the break-up of the USSR in 1991, Abkhazians proclaimed independence from Georgia.

A violent conflict followed, claiming thousands of lives. A joint CIS peacekeeping force managed to halt the violence in 1994. Together with UN observers, Russian peacekeepers separated the conflicting sides. 117 CIS peacekeepers died in the clashes.

In May this year, Russia decided to increase the number of its troops, but still under the previous agreement's mandate.

But Tbilisi says the move was an act of provocation and wants them out.