Georgia releases two detained Russian peacekeepers
( RIA Novosti ) - Two Russian peacekeepers detained Monday night in Georgia have been released and handed over to their peacekeeping headquarters, local television said Tuesday.
Georgia's Rustavi-2 television channel reported that on Monday night two Russian peacekeepers blocked a highway connecting the eastern and western parts of the country near the city of Zugdidi, West Georgia, to conduct inspections of drivers' documents.
A Georgian police patrol force arrived at the scene later to unblock the road and detain the peacekeepers.
A spokesman for the local administration said the peacekeepers stopped a car carrying Irakli Daraseliya, a member of the Georgian parliament, threatening him with their weapons and demanding his documents.
"Besides officers of the Georgian patrol police, UN military observers arrived at the scene as well and were witnesses to the illegal actions of the peacekeepers," he said.
The spokesman added that "both Russian peacekeepers were handed over Monday night to a representative of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces. Georgian police also returned their confiscated weapons. A criminal case on charges of abuse of power has been launched."
Russian troops are stationed in the region as part of the trilateral Collective Peacekeeping Forces, which also involve Georgian and Ossetian soldiers. They were deployed in South Ossetia in the early 1990s to ensure the implementation of ceasefire agreements after the conflict, but Georgia's West-leaning authorities have sought their expulsion since coming to power in 2004.