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Russia, Georgia Fail to Swap Prisoners
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 18 Aug.'08 / 17:35

Georgia and Russia exchanged accusations on August 18 over a failure to arrange swap of military prisoners.

Anatoly Nogovitsin, deputy chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, has claimed that the Georgian side thwarted the negotiations in the village of Ergneti at the South Ossetian administrative border on August 18.

“We had an attempt made at 12:15pm local time today. This was to take place in the village of Ergneti. However, the exchange did not take place,” he said at a news conference in Moscow. “The Georgian side is putting additional demands… The preliminary analysis of these demands indicates to us that the Georgian side was trying to use military prisoners as hostages and to bargain them for something.”

He said that Russia was insisting on “all-for-all exchange.”

Meanwhile, the Georgian Ministry Defense said on August 18 that it was also insisting on all-for-all exchange, but has claimed that the Russian side tabled “inaccurate list of prisoners.”

“We know that number of [Georgian] prisoners is much higher than it was indicated in the list provided by the Russian side,” Batu Kutelia, the Georgian deputy defense minister, said. “On the other hand list of their prisoners is also inaccurate and inflated, which includes many of those persons, which are already free.”

“We call on the Russian side to immediately table a precise list of prisoners,” he said.

There were conflicting reports about the number of military prisoners. The Russian side reported earlier on August 18, that there were 14 Georgian servicemen and five Russian soldiers in the list. Later the Russian side, however, reported about 15 Georgian and 12 Russian servicemen being in the list.

The Georgian Ministry of Defense has declined to specify number of military prisoners.

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