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Georgia Says Abkhaz Separatists Fire on Checkpoint


Georgian authorities say separatist fighters, with Russian backing, have attacked a police checkpoint near the country's breakaway republic of Abkhazia.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili Thursday said Abkhaz fighters, backed by two Russian armored vehicles, fired grenade launchers and automatic weapons at the checkpoint near the village of Ganmukhuri, causing damage.

Abkhaz separatists say they fired at police only after the Georgians attacked them.

No injuries have been reported.

The Georgian ministry said Russian helicopters also flew over the village.

Georgia says it wants an international peacekeeping presence in the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are now patrolled by Russian forces.

Representatives from Georgia and Russia, as well as from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, held talks this week in Geneva.

The United Nations and the European Union mediated the informal discussions. A second round of talks is slated for December.

Russian troops invaded Georgia August 7 after Georgia tried to retake South Ossetia by force. Moscow later recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, angering the United States and the European Union.

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