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Russia, Georgia exchange prisoners in Georgia
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Russia and Georgia on Tuesday carried out a prisoner exchange in the Gori region of Georgia, a senior Russian military official said.

Moscow handed over 13 Georgian military personnel and two civilians, captured during the recent conflict over South Ossetia, in exchange for five Russians, among them two pilots, said Igor Konashenkov, an aide to the commander-in-chief of the Russian Ground Force.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin confirmed the exchange of prisoners.

"A protocol has been signed, under which both sides have assumed an obligation to continue the contacts relating to the search for and return of prisoners," Karasin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

The deal was initially scheduled for Monday. The Russian side said the talks failed because Georgian negotiators made requests "unrelated" to the exchange, while Georgia accused Russia of failing to provide an accurate list of prisoners.

Russia declared a halt to its military offensive in Georgia last Tuesday after days of conflict in South Ossetia. According to Russian figures, around 1,600 civilians were killed during the hostilities.

(Xinhua News Agency August 20, 2008)

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