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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Shevardnadze Softens

TBILISI, Georgia -- Moderating his criticism of Russia, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said Monday that Russian peacekeepers were playing a positive role in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia.

"Despite all the criticism of Russian peacekeepers, on the whole, they are fulfilling their mission," Shevardnadze said in a radio address. "No one knows what would happen if they weren't there."

Shevardnadze had previously accused Russian peacekeepers, in Abkhazia since 1994, of siding with separatists and failing to ensure the return of about 300,000 ethnic Georgian refugees to the province.