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Russia Criticizes US Senate Resolution on Georgian Territories

Russia has strongly criticized the U.S. Senate's July 29 resolution calling for Moscow to withdraw its troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway Georgia territories that have declared their independence.

The resolution is Washington's latest call for Moscow to comply with the terms of the cease-fire that ended its brief 2008 war with Georgia. Comparing the resolution to a "broken record," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Monday that claims Russian troops are occupying the two territories have no legal or factual grounds.

He added that such statements are harmful because they incite what he called "a revanchist mood" in Tbilisi and promote Georgia's unwillingness to cooperate.

Russia, which recognized the two Georgian territories as independent following the conflict, maintains its right to base soldiers there. Lukashevich says since South Ossetia and Abkhazia are independent, there is not a single Russian serviceman in Georgian territory.

The latest friction between Russia and Georgia comes after Georgia convicted several local photographers of spying for Moscow last month. Tbilisi has regularly accused Moscow of operating espionage activities in Georgia. Also in July, courts in Georgia convicted several people of spying when a Russian and eight Georgians were convicted of espionage and sentenced to 11- to 14-year prison terms.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.