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    Russian troops in S. Ossetia on alert over Georgian provocations

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    Russia has put its troops and border guards in South Ossetia on heightened alert over recent border provocations carried out by Georgia, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has put its troops and border guards in South Ossetia on heightened alert over recent border provocations carried out by Georgia, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

    "The situation is really worrisome, provocations from the Georgian side on the eve of the anniversary of the August events last year are continuing," Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

    He said Moscow was closely watching the situation on the Georgia-South Ossetia border.

    On Tuesday, the South Ossetian communications ministry told RIA Novosti that the village of Otrev, near the republic's capital of Tskhinvali, had been shelled by Georgian forces from across the border. No injuries were reported.

    The village was among the first to come under attack last August 8, when Georgian forces attacked the republic in an attempt to bring it back under central control. South Ossetia had enjoyed de facto independence since the early 1990s.

    The Georgian Interior Ministry said late on Monday that three rocket-propelled grenades had been launched from South Ossetia at a Georgian village. Again, no injuries were reported.

    Both sides also alleged attacks on their territories at the weekend. Russia has said it will use force to protect South Ossetian residents.

    Last August's war saw Russian forces expel invading Georgian troops from South Ossetia and force them deep into Georgia amid accusations on both sides of human rights abuses. Russia eventually withdrew from Georgian territory and recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former Georgian republic, on August 24. It has since stationed some 4,000 troops in the two republics.

     

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