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Rice Criticizes Russia Over Georgia Tensions


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has criticized Russia's behavior towards Georgia, saying it is adding to tensions in the area.

As she arrived in Prague Tuesday, Rice noted that the former Soviet republic of Georgia is an independent state, and called on both Russia and Georgia to avoid "provocative" actions.

U.S. officials have been dismayed by a series of Russian actions involving Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Meanwhile, Georgian Defense Ministry officials say four Georgian servicemen detained by South Ossetian authorities near the administrative border of the breakaway area earlier Tuesday have been released. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili had threatened action unless they were freed.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in the early 1990s, sparking fighting and the dispatch of Russian peacekeepers to the region.

Georgia has vowed to bring the territories back under central government control.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.


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