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Russian Soldiers Dismantle Some Checkpoints in Georgia


Russian soldiers have begun dismantling some checkpoints in western Georgia amid new disagreements over the accord providing for their withdrawal.

Journalists say Russian troops are dismantling positions outside Georgia's Black Sea port of Poti and near its breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the European Union of distorting the agreement on the monitors. He said the accord, signed in Moscow Monday, provides for the dispatch of EU observers to areas just outside Abkhazia and the other breakaway region, South Ossetia, not on their territory. He rejected Georgian interpretations that the accord covers all of the country.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana agreed that the accord did not mention the two regions, but said monitors should work throughout Georgia.

In Washington, A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, accused Russia of trying to keep thousands of troops in Georgia in violation of cease-fire accords.

Meanwhile, Georgian authorities accused Russia of responsibility for the shooting death of a Georgian police officer near the village of Karaleti, just outside South Ossetia, a charge Russia denied.

Russian forces pushed into Georgia after the Georgian military tried to retake control of South Ossetia. Russia said it had to protect its citizens in South Ossetia.

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

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