Three Russian officers freed from Georgian guard, given day to leave country

Authorities have freed three Russian military officers from custody and given them 24 hours to leave Georgia, the defense minister said Friday.

Police detained the three Wednesday for entering Georgia without visas, further ratcheting up already high tensions with Moscow .

"They have already been freed," Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili told reporters in the capital, Tbilisi . "They should leave Georgian territory within 24 hours."

Russia 's Defense Ministry said that the officers were investigating a serious incident around a week ago when Georgian police impounded a Russian peacekeepers' truck involved in a traffic accident near South Ossetia , sparking fist fights.

Russian peacekeepers are stationed in the area between Georgia and its breakaway province of South Ossetia .

The three officers were being handed over to observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the so-called conflict zone around South Ossetia , Okruashvili said, reports the AP.


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