December 13, 2008 / 8:26 AM / in 9 years

Russian military retakes border village - Georgia

TBILISI, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Georgia said on Saturday that hundreds of Russian soldiers had moved into a disputed Georgian village near breakaway South Ossetia and had pushed out Georgian police.

A regional police official and an interior ministry spokesman told Reuters between 500 and 600 Russian soldiers were in the village of Perevi, close to the de facto border with South Ossetia.

The European Union mission monitoring a fragile ceasefire since the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in August confirmed Russian forces were in the village, but could not say how many.

Georgian police had pulled back under a Russian ultimatum, police said. "The Russians kicked the Georgian police out of Perevi this morning," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said. "They staged a show with paratroopers."

The EU monitors claimed a small victory on Friday when Russian forces pulled back from the village, which they had continued to hold having withdrawn from a buffer zone adjacent to South Ossetia in October.

By nightfall the Russians had returned.

Utiashvili said a delegation of European ambassadors visiting the area was barred from entering the village.

An EU mission spokeswoman said talks were continuing between Georgian officials and Russian officers. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze and Matt Robinson; Editing by Matthew Jones)



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