( RIA Novosti ) - Georgian border police have released the Russian dry cargo ship Rodonit, detained March 20 for allegedly violating Georgian shipping regulations.
The Georgian Interior Ministry border police press service said the ship was released after paying a $30,000 fine and has already left the port of Batumi, the capital of Georgia's autonomous region of Adjaria.
The ship, flying the Russian flag, was detained nine days ago for allegedly sailing near the coast of the unrecognized Georgian republic of Abkhazia, which has been declared a closed area.
Georgia's self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, sparking bloody conflicts in the region.
Russia mediated ceasefire agreements between the sides, and Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the conflict zones ever since.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who swept into power on the back of a "color" revolution in 2003, has pledged to bring Abkhazia and South Ossetia back under Tbilisi's control.