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Official Says Georgian Policeman Shot Dead Near Rebel Region

A Georgian policeman has been shot and killed near the breakaway province of Abkhazia.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said the policeman was shot and killed Saturday when shots were fired from the direction of a nearby Abkhaz-controlled checkpoint.

The incident occurred on the same day that Russian forces left key positions in western Georgia as part of a deal brokered by France. Georgian authorities confirmed that Russian troops have left posts around the Black Sea port of Poti.

Russian forces pushed into neighboring Georgia last month after the Georgian military tried to retake control of the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia has recognized both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Although the Russians have withdrawn from several positions in Georgia, they continue to maintain a security zone around the separatist region.

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