MOSCOW, September 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Foreign Ministry demanded Monday the immediate release of two North Ossetian members of the Joint Peacekeeping Force sentenced in Georgia to two months imprisonment.
Last Wednesday, Georgian Interior Ministry officers apprehended three peacekeepers from the joint forces' North Ossetian battalion, although one of them was released, two were sentenced later to two months imprisonment.
"This is a gross violation of existing agreements on the formation of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces and their operations in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, Georgian authorities reported that Interior Ministry officers had detained Tariel Khachirov and Vitaly Valiyev on suspicion of illegally detaining nine Georgians on August 26 and 27.
South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia following a bloody conflict that left hundreds dead in 1991-1992, peacekeepers have been stationed in the region ever since. They comprise Russian, Georgian and North Ossetian battalions comprising 500 peacekeepers each. North Ossetia is a Russian republic in the North Caucasus.