Russia peacekeepers to stay in breakaway provinces

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's president says that Russian peacekeepers will stay in Georgia's breakaway provinces.

Moscow has peacekeepers deployed to both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but Georgia says they back separatists there.

The two regions have run their own affairs without international recognition since fighting to split from Georgia in the early 1990s.

Russian officials had given signals that the fighting could pave the way for them to be absorbed into Russia.

Earlier Tuesday, Georgia's president said his government will officially designate Russian peacekeepers in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupying forces.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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