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Border deal and NATO exercises raise Georgia tensions

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Border deal and NATO exercises raise Georgia tensions

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Russia has taken formal control over the de-facto borders between Georgia and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. President Dmitry Medvedev signed the deal with leaders of both territories, which Moscow recognised as independent states after the summer’s brief but bloody war with Georgia.

It comes a week before NATO military manouevres in Georgia that Medvedev has described as provocative. He said: “Exercises should not take place in areas where there has been a war. It could have negative consequences and the responsibility will lie with those who have taken the decision.” NATO says it does not understand why Moscow is upset by the long-planned exercises. Russia says the war games will encourage Georgia to rearm. Moscow has also complained that its southern neighbour is massing troops near Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Tensions over Georgia have become one of the most divisive issues between Russia and the West.