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Breakaway regions sign pact with Russia

RUSSIA signed a deal with Georgia's two breakaway regions yesterday, giving Moscow the power to guard their borders - a move sharply criticized in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the leaders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia signed the agreements at a Kremlin ceremony nearly nine months after the brief war between Russia and Georgia.

Russia will guard the borders of both regions including Abkhazia's territorial waters in the Black Sea, according to the agreement.

After confronting Georgia's army last August, Russia strengthened its control over the two regions and also took over swaths of territory that had been under Georgia's control before the war.

The United States and European Union both consider this a violation of the cease-fire, which required all forces to pull back to positions held before the fighting last August.

Moscow's position was that the cease-fire had been superseded by subsequent agreements with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.


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